Races, displays, food and fun part of River John Days

Published on July 23, 2014

RIVER JOHN – Empty lobster crates are being put to good use this weekend in River John.

About 50 of them will be tied together in a line for the lobster crate races at the River John Festival Days event Saturday at 3:30 p.m. near Bissel Park.

“Last year was the first year we did it and about 30 people tried it out,” said festival days committee member Amanda Reid. “One person made it all the way and did a swan dive at the end.”

This year, the committee is expanding the line and hoping more people will come out and try this new event in the traditional River John Days.

Reid said she and her husband, Johnny, first got the idea after seeing it done in Nova Scotia’s south shore.   Wooden crates have been used in the past, but many of the crates are plastic which makes them sink a little more easily.

Kids, teenagers and adults are welcome to compete in the free event that will have cash prizes available.  Depending on the number of people who turn out to the event, there might be an opportunity for more than one chance across the crates.

Anyone wanting to check out last year’s event can log into the River John Festival Days’ Facebook page and view a video.

Reid said the lobster crate run isn’t the only event taking place on the river this weekend.

The Kayak Festival will be held once again from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday with a leisurely sail from one bridge to the other. People can bring their own kayaks or rentals will be available.

She said about 50 people took part in the Kayak Festival last year.

Local firemen are also hosting a lucky duck race Saturday afternoon and the first duck to cross the finish line wins a prize.

In addition to these water-based events on Saturday, landlubbers can take in the mile-long yard sale through the village’s main street, visit the quilt fair,  go for a hayride at Lismore Sheep Farm and browse around the antique car show at the River John School in the afternoon.

The festival will end Saturday evening with the street parade followed by entertainment on the verandah, fireworks and a festival dance in the River John Fire Hall.

Reid said the festival began this past Friday with the annual ball tournament and events have been taking place every day of the week.

Large crowds have been turning out for breakfast on the verandah that sees a different group hosting a big breakfast from 6:45 to 10:30 a.m. each morning.

She said community members and cottagers have been taking part in many events and the weather forecast is looking fine which is good news considering many of the events take place outdoors.

For a complete schedule of the River John Festival Days, visit its website at www.riverjohn.com