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Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival

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Besty Clayton | Lee County Government
Published Friday, July 18, 2008

Hello paddling fans,


Make plans now to welcome fall with the most exciting paddling festival in the country. Oct. 25-Nov. 2 along the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail is the place to be right here in Southwest Florida and Lee County. If you're receiving this e-mail that means you've either placed yourself on our festival mailing list or you're part of a group that's involved, helping out or interested. Thanks for getting the word out and for reading this July update.


Our Web site,, has even more info for you than before, including:


More lodging partners: Want to lessen your carbon footprint or help your family budget? Camp during the festival. The Lee County RV Park Owners Association has joined the Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival and now several RV parks are allowing tent camping during festival dates. Other RV parks have special rate offerings for those in RVs and trailering pop-ups.


Also, several Florida Certified Green Lodging establishments are joining in on our paddling package offerings for the nine-day festival. And we have many of the popular hotels and motels that we featured last year back on the site with packages to offer. Check out the lodging options at


FallFest 2008: The Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival is joining the Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau to celebrate fall's great weather and events here. Check out the FallFest promotions and happenings at

See the Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival as one of the featured events!


Race registration: Now two of the three races happening during the 2008 festival have registration available online. The Paddle of the Pass on Nov. 1 (North Fort Myers) and the Midpoint Paddle Sprint on Nov. 2 (Matlacha) make it easy for you to do back-to-back competitions. Or enter the recreational category for a shorter run. Either way, it's a great way to meet other paddlers and see two different waterways, both of which are on the Great Calusa Blueway. Both races are on the Florida Competition Paddlers Association race calendar. Check it out and register at

Stay tuned for details on the Oct. 25 timed-trial race in Bonita.


Fishing tournament: You can get the 411 on the Calusa Pro Am. Registration is available online now for both divisions. The kayak fishing tournament will happen in Matlacha on Nov. 1-2. Check it out at


Photo contest: Judges are on board and prizes are secured for the first-ever Great Calusa Blueway Photo Contest. Winning entries will be professionally matted and fixed into customized frames by ABC Framing of Fort Myers. The winner from each age group will also receive a $75 gift certificate to be redeemed at ABC Framing, which offers customized conservation framing, shadow boxes, giclee canvas printing, digital restoration and more. Selected entries may be featured on the Blueway Web site, and may also be published in newspapers, magazines or online.

Check out how to enter at


More to come: Even more events are in the works and will be posted as details are confirmed. This year's eco-fest is shaping up to be the best yet, with nine-days of fun and more than 50 happenings all along the most scenic blueway in the country. Stay tuned at And please forward this to your paddling clubs, favorite outfitters, family and friends far and wide. Let's build momentum for a fabulous time this fall.


Thank you,


Betsy Clayton

Last update Friday, July 18, 2008

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