This Saturday, July 27th, 2pm, brings our free and inclusive Grand Island Bike Stampede, part of the 14th annual Paddles Up Niagara organized by Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, The Niagara River Greenway, The Town of Grand Island, and New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and sponsored by SolarPark Energy.
Beginning and ending in Beaver Island State Park (pictured above by Evan Pierce on our first ride there), our 12-mile route will feature the new West River Parkway trail that we helped advocate for with our first Grand Island ride back in 2016, before crossing the island on Love Road and heading back to Beaver Island down East River Road.
Paddlers will have the opportunity to take in the breathtaking island scenery, wetlands, heron rookery, and an active bald eagle nesting area during the event which starts at 7am. There is no entry fee for that event, and the community is encouraged to come out and enjoy the water with other paddlers. A park entry fee will be charged for motor vehicles beginning at 9am – park entry by bike is free.
Food will be available for purchase on site from Master BBQ Kitchen, Herb-N-Gardens, and Popcorn Jim. In the afternoon there is a farmer’s market and craft and vendor fair at The Falconwood at Beaver Island State Park (former casino). There will be kids activities available and live music after the ride. More details through Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper here.
To learn more about Paddles Up Niagara and how Slow Roll got involved, read below from organizer and Grand Island Chamber of Commerce board member Jenn Pusatier.
What inspired the founding of Paddles Up Niagara?
In 2005, the State of New York established the Niagara River Greenway Commission. I was one of its first citizen commissioners. The Commission was charged with the responsibility of developing and implementing a plan that would link trails, parks, scenic overlooks and historic sites together with the world famous ecological settings of the Niagara River corridor. As the plan was being developed, it became apparent that a signature event was needed to celebrate the Niagara in a way that would allow the public to experience its charm and vitality. I suggested a family friendly paddlesports event at a Commission meeting in July 2006, and the first Paddles Up was launched just a few weeks later. Paddles Up is now entering its 14th year and over this span of time has developed a dedicated following.
How has it grown since it began?
When Paddles Up launched in 2006, it was attended by just over 100 paddlers. Most came from Western New York and the nearby Canadian Province of Ontario. Today, Paddles Up brings in more than 400 paddlers who ply the waters of the Niagara River in kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddle boards and even rowboats. While the majority of the paddlers are from the local region, there has been a steady increase in the number of participants from other parts of the United States and Canada as well as Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.
The unique value of Paddles Up rests in its uncompromising family values. This is an event that can be enjoyed by children, parents, grandparents and family relatives.
What led organizers to include Slow Roll in this year’s event?
We have found that combining agencies and groups together for the good of the community is a win-win for everyone. Grand Island is a biking destination, and with the new Shoreline Trail that follows the Niagara River on the westside of Grand Island incorporating a Slow Roll seemed like a perfect fit!
The Shoreline Trail is an eight-mile multi-use trail that was previously a 55mph parkway, and the perfect place for families to ride their bikes from Buckhorn Island State Park to Beaver Island State Park without traffic and to enjoy the quiet and serene views.
What should participants look forward to about the ride and entire event?
Riding throughout our quiet town, we hope that you will see all that we appreciate about our community and our neighbors. Grand Island is an eco-tourism destination, and we are striving every year to protect our green space and grow eco-tourism even more.
The Paddles Up Summerfest 2019 has something for everyone! From the 7am guided kayak tours to the beer and bands until 8pm. We hope you will spend the day with us. Make sure to stop and get a chicken dinner from Master K BBQ or a flat bread from Herb-N-Gardens! We have a craft and vendor show until 5pm along with many kids activities.
After your ride, stay and enjoy a beverage and some great music. The beach will be open and we hope to see you all on Saturday!
7-11am: Paddles Up with Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper and Niagara Greenway Commission – pre-registration and kayak rentals can be found here.
10am: Fun Paddle – open and free if you have your own kayak. 14th year and hoping to get 300 kayaks on the river. Shelter 2A. Sponsored by Anchor Marine and Bluewater Marina)
12pm – Outdoor Adventure Race with Niagara Outfitters. This is a sprint-style adventure race featuring a 3.5K kayak paddle followed by a 5k run! Compete with a friend as a team or do both events as an individual. Prizes will be awarded across a variety of categories. Pre-register here, or day-of registration starts at 9:30 at shelter 2A.
11am-5pm: Craft, Vendor, and Farmers’ Market
11am-5pm: Food vendors – Master’s BBQ from Hamburg will be cooking chicken dinners on site for $8. Herb-N-Gardens Pizza will be making pizza-stone pizzas and breads, prices vary. Jim’s Metal Kettle for the best kettle corn in WNY. The Frosti Boss Slushies and Luigia’s on Wheels ice cream!
11am-8pm: Beer and wine will be available at the Paddles Up Shelter and then at The Falconwood, the former clubhouse in Beaver Island. Must be 21 and bring ID.
12-3pm: Adams Acoustic Band will be playing at The Falconwood.
2pm: Grand Island Stampede sponsored by Solarpark Energy and presented by Slow Roll Buffalo. Gathering place will be in the north end of the large parking lot.
4-8pm: Nik and the Nice Guys from Rochester will be in concert. The high-energy mainstream band features 11 multi-talented musicians. Free concert sponsored by Solarpark Energy and Montana International.
11am-5pm: Kids Zone – Free rock painting, Beaver Island scavenger hunt, games, and the new playground is open.
12-5pm: Free horse and buggy carriage rides 12-5pm.