WAGRAM — The 2017 Chalk Banks Challenge and River Festival will have the same events as years past, plus a new unique race for men.
This year the annual event will feature a “High Heels Men’s Race,” which is open to the public to participate. “We will have spare pairs of high heels for those who didn’t plan to be in the race before showing up Saturday,” said Whit Gibson, a member of the Chalk Banks Challenge planning committee and Scotland County commissioner.
The river festival is from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lumber River State Park-Chalk Banks River Access Area in Wagram.
Just as in previous years, the event will feature a canoe and kayak race, along with a homemade raft race, 5k trail run, games for children, inflatables, train rides, canoe rides, and vendors.
Typically the event sees between 600 and 700 visitors, but this year with the new addition of the high heels race, organizers are hoping for 1,000 people to turn out.
“We are always trying to look for something that will bring more people out and the intention of the whole event is to try to get the folks in this area to understand what a really great resource the Lumber River State Park is,” Gibson said.
Sign-up for the 5k trail run, raft race, and canoe and kayak race is available up until Saturday. Fees for the races are $30 for the 5k, $20 for the raft race, and $10 for the canoe and kayak race. Registration for all three races is from 8 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.
Participants in the canoe and kayak race must bring their own vessel that meets the recreational class requirements.
“The event that draws the most attention and is really the centerpiece of the festival is the homemade raft race. We have had great participation in the past and I believe we have a couple fire departments who have built rafts for this year, and we usually have a few Boy Scout troops that participate,” Gibson said.
There will be two divisions for the raft race, divided into a youth and adult group. The winners of each division will win $150. There is also an additional $400 worth of prizes to be award throughout the day’s multiple events.
According to Gibson, there will be three vendors present on Saturday, shaved ice, a hot dog and hamburger stand, and the Nazareth Missionary Baptist Church of Wagram will be selling an array of food items, which will include barbecue and ribs.
“Anything we can do to get people to come out on this Saturday and maybe they will come back for fishing, picnics, or just hiking trails,” Gibson said.
The event will also feature the local band, Last Time Around, who recently played in the Scotland County Talent Showcase last month. The Laurinburg band is made up of Tim Spry, Charles Sheppard, Steve James, Andy Kurtzman and Jim McMillan.
For information on the 2017 Chalk banks Challenge and River Festival, visit www.chalkbanks.com or call 910-628-4564.
Reach Nolan Gilmour at 910-506-3171