GRAND LAKE — Grand Lake Mayor Judy Burke will be competing in a kayak race against Estes Park Mayor Bill Pinkham in a regatta on Grand Lake.
Since the mayor had never before been in a kayak, she said, she convinced the Estes Park mayor to make it a tandem event, so Pinkham will be in a boat with his wife Sue. Meanwhile, the Grand Lake mayor enlisted a local ringer, kayaker Andy Murphy — aka The Kayak Guy — owner of Mountain Paddlers Kayak Shak in Grand Lake. Burke and her recruit will be paddling for the charitable cause of the Trail River Ranch education center in Rocky Mountain National Park, and the public is welcomed to make a pledge. “Whether we win or not, we’ll go out and give it our best shot,” Burke said on Wednesday, before her second of two practice runs she and Murphy were taking prior to the race.
The mayor challenge takes place at 9:30 a.m. as part of the 2nd Annual Spirit of the Lake Regatta & Brewfest, taking place this Saturday, Aug. 17.
Following the regatta, Grand Lake will be hosting a beer festival in town park on Grand Avenue, with live music from the Acme Band. The beer festival is poised to feature a variety of Colorado brews and locally distilled spirits from 1- 5 p.m.
Event organizers are touting the beer portion of the event as being one of the only sustainable beer festivals in the nation. Solar power is used to offset energy needs, biodegradable tasting cups are provided (guests can exchange these for a souvenir glass after the festival), a conservation beer boat tour is available at noon, and the event organizers will ensure that all recyclable materials will be recycled. Their aim, they say, is to effectively reduce the event’s carbon footprint.
The Saturday morning regatta, beginning at 7 a.m. on Grand Lake at Lake Park, includes competitors in rowing, canoeing, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding.
Dragon boats will also be participating in the regatta. “Vikings are welcome, and we encourage costumes from all attendants and participants,” said event organizer Tim Hodsdon, of Fraser.
The official “Mariner’s Ball” takes place at 7 p.m. at the Lariat Saloon on Saturday evening.