Top News

2019 Shelburne Kayak Festival marking eighth year with expanded schedule

Kayakers from a previous Shelburne Kayak Festival take in the sights and sounds. - Carly MacKay
Kayakers from a previous Shelburne Kayak Festival take in the sights and sounds.

As the Shelburne Kayak Festival gets set to launch its eighth edition, organizers are offering something new: Paddle Canada Level 1 Sea Kayak certification training.

Paddlers asked for it, so festival organizers delivered, explains Andrew Steffensen, chairman of the Shelburne Kayak Festival Society. “We had requests to do a Level 1 certified course, so we’re doing that this year.”

As of mid-June, 28 participants had registered for the festival, and the Level 1 sea kayak course was fully booked. Steffensen noted that the sea kayak training sessions are still open to other paddlers, but they would participate without being certified.

The 2019 Shelburne Kayak Festival runs from Friday, Aug. 16 through Sunday, Aug. 18 at the Islands Provincial Park. This year’s festival schedule was expanded to accommodate the Level 1 Sea Kayak certification training, which runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday.

As with previous years, clinics and guided tours are part of the lineup. All instructors are certified and experienced in the skills they teach. First aid responders will be on hand all three days.

Clinics, some of them offsite, are available all three days for adults, ranging from beginners to intermediate paddlers with more kayaking experience and training. Friday and Saturday have sessions running all day long, while Sunday features a half-day of events.

A free “Try it!” kayak session, for adults only, is once again being hosted by the municipality. That session will be open to the public on Saturday, Aug. 17, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. To reserve a spot in advance, call the municipality’s recreation department at 902-875-3544, Ext. 230.

Another new addition to this year’s festival is Introduction to Tidal Currents, which will be held Saturday in Port Clyde.

Social events include a Friday night meet-and-greet barbecue, a Saturday night supper and a Sunday morning yoga session, followed by a treasure hunt and poker rally.

The supper was originally to be held at the Shelburne Harbour Yacht Club. But the yacht club is in the process of repairing damage from a May 19 kitchen fire, so the supper was moved to the Christ Church Parish Hall.

The kayak festival runs, rain or shine. But, as always, these outdoor events are dependent on the weather and any safety issues that may arise, Steffensen says. “Safety is our first concern, so we rely on the coaches’ discretion as to whether they will go out, because the coaches are the ones who are taking people out onto the water.”

The festival’s cancellation policy is posted on its website, on the registration page.

Organizers had great success with this year’s early-bird registration, attracting 18 registrations. And Nova Scotia Provincial Parks included the Shelburne Kayak Festival in its 2019-2020 parks guide event listing.

This is the second year the Shelburne Kayak Festival Society has run the festival. Besides Andrew Steffensen, board members include Sue Johnson, vice-chair; Anne Slater, treasurer; Sheila Steffensen, secretary; Matt DeLong, coach coordinator; plus Anson d'Entremont, Gail Daniels and Elaine Howatt.

Sponsors include the Town of Shelburne, Canoe Kayak Nova Scotia, the Municipality of the District of Shelburne, Candlebox Kayaking and Nova Scotia Natural Resources.

Registration for the full festival costs $160. The registration deadline is July 31. For more information or to register, visit the kayak festival website at www.shelburnekayakfestival.ca.

Paddlers can bring their own kayaks, or rent them in advance from a local outfitter. Information on kayak rentals is available on the festival website.

Festival news and updates can be found on the group’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ShelburneKayakFestival.

Festival organizers have once again reserved a large group camping area at Islands Park for anyone wanting to camp as a group. Reservations for the group campsite can be made on the festival registration form.

Those who prefer to book their own sites can make their camping reservations online at novascotia.goingtocamp.com/TheIslandsProvincialPark.

Recent Stories