Preparations for the ninth annual Oklahoma Regatta Festival are going swimmingly as the Boathouse District is prepped for five days of activity.
From Wednesday through Sunday, visitors can expect food, fireworks, live music, a beer and wine garden and, of course, boat racing.
“We have been kicked into high gear with recruiting teams to come to race at all of the events,” said Elizabeth Laurent, senior director of marketing and program development for the OKC Boathouse Foundation.
Laurent has enlisted a number of vendors and food trucks for the festival. About 20,000 visitors are estimated to attend, and as many as 2,700 athletes will compete.
“The festival part of it will be on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but we do have events on Wednesday and then again on Sunday,” she said.
Laurent said Wednesday will be particularly special because of a new “action packed” event.
“We're having the Oklahoma City Canoe Marathon Invitational,” she said. “It is the first time we've ever hosted a race like this.”
After racers paddle each lap, “they get out and do a portage,” said Sherry Burnett, director of public relations.
A portage or portaging is the act of taking a canoe out of the water and carrying it a certain distance on land. Races are won and lost by how efficiently canoers hop in and out of the water, Burnett said.
“It's like NASCAR in Europe,” she said. “It's very popular so we're excited to bring that here to Oklahoma City.”
Races are fast-paced and aggressive with contact and penalties.
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