PREPARE TO PADDLE: Kayaks, canoes ready to take over lake on Aug. 27

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

For those who’ve wondered what it would be like to take a leisurely kayak or canoe ride around Northern Kentucky’s largest lake, you’ll get your chance later this month.

Williamstown Lake will host the first Paddle Williamstown from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27.

“We want to show off the lake in a safe way to the rest of the state,” said Williamstown Mayor Rick Skinner. “Kayaking is becoming very popular and we’ve seen it done at other bodies of water and thought it would be something good locally.”

During the Paddle Williamstown event, all power boats and jet ski traffic will be restricted.

For Nancy Smith, a lake resident, Paddle Williamstown, is a dream come true. Smith said she didn’t know the lake even existed until 1999. A year later, she purchased her first kayak. For the last five years, Smith and several other female lake residents spend Saturday mornings doing their “Kayak and Coffee.”

“It’s just us women,” Smith said. “We catch up and enjoy the water. You can see gray herring and can get up close and personal with turtles and other wildlife.”

The event will feature leisure floating, but also 200-meter races, a poker run, canoe relay races and a Mayor’s Paddle Brunch. There’ll also be events just for children.

To encourage families to participate, canoes and kayaks can be rented. In order to rent one, anyone interested must register prior to Aug. 27 on the city’s website at www.wtownky.org. While there may be enough equipment on hand for children to participate the day of the event, kayaks and canoes are only available with advanced registration on a first come, first served basis.

Children will be required to wear life jackets, which will be provided with a canoe or kayak rental.

“I’m definitely excited, as are a lot of other lake residents,” said Smith. “I think it’s going to be a good event.”
Races will start between 7:15 and 7:30 a.m. and will launch from both the Williamstown Marina and Ruby’s Boat Dock on the Dry Ridge side of  the lake.

Two water taxis will also be running to pick people around the lake so residents especially won’t be stuck since motorboat traffic will be restricted during the event.

Skinner is hoping that kayak teams from around the region want come to check out the lake.

“That means they might spend the night and eat locally after the event,” he said.

The Grant County Tourism Commission did give a $3,500 grant to the city for the event.

“We’ve got a hidden gem to the paddling world and we want to show it off,” said Skinner.

For more information call 859-824-6351.