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Moonlight Paddle seeks volunteers

by IAN BIVONA
Sports Reporter | August 3, 2022 1:51 PM

SOAP LAKE – The waters of Soap Lake will be lit up on Aug. 13 for the Moonlight Paddle, where residents decorate their water vessels to as far as their imagination yields.

“The Moonlight Paddle has been going on for many years, and we always do it with the full moon in August,” Soap Lake Chamber of Commerce President Cindi Rang said.

The Moonlight Paddle features a race earlier in the day, before a free ride later in the evening and into night. Their non-motorized vessels are decorated with features that help them glow in the dark, with prizes to those deemed the best decorated.

“We have a contest with prizes for the funniest, the most colorful, the best theme,” Rang said. “Almost everybody wins a prize in some category. The most use of lights, the loudest.”

The races begin earlier in the day and are done by age group. They take place parallel to East Beach Park, where the other festivities will be held.

“We have races, and the races are fun,” Rang said. “We do all different age groups, and we do have some extra kayaks down there for children and adults. So if they don’t have a kayak for the races, that shouldn’t deter them. We do the races parallel to the shore so that people can watch and cheer on their family.”

Rang said that the races last a couple of hours, and then will shift into the Moonlight Paddle, which she described as being similar to a parade.

“The idea is that everybody shows up on the beach in the late evening and they decorate their kayaks, their canoes, their rowboats, whatever they may have that’s not motorized,” Rang said. “...It’s like a parade.”

Along with the races and parade, other festivities will be taking place at East Street Beach. This includes bounce houses, a beer garden, music and more.

“This year we’re also adding an indigenous drum circle,” Rang said. “We have a large indigenous community and they want to drum for the lake, which is something they’ve always done historically.”

In order for the event to be a success, Rang said that they are still searching for volunteers to assist in both on-and-off-lake events.

“We have a lot of kids that are racing, so we just want to make sure that we’re out there and safe, pointing them in the right direction,” Rang said. “We also have food booths, a beer garden, music, registration and judging if there’s people that want to help. It’s roughly a seven-hour event, all put on by volunteers.”

Those interested in entering the race can register at the registration booth at East Beach Park on August 13, and entry is $5 per participant.

“Registration is only $5, and that pays for prizes, it pays for your whistle they need and their light-up lanyard, which is what they are required for the Moonlight Paddle,” Rang said.

Rang invited people from surrounding communities as well.

“It’s a really fun event,” she said, “not just locals, but lots of people from around the area come and enjoy it.”

Ian Bivona may be reached at ibivona@columbiabasinherald.com.

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COURTESY PHOTO/CINDI RANG

The Moonlight Paddle is open to all who register, costing $5 per entry.

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COURTESY PHOTO/CINDI RANG

Kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards are decorated with glow-in-the-dark lights to illuminate on Soap Lake after nightfall.

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