Stacee-Free Team Member, Don Carter lives in “Fannyville”. Well, most of the time he actually lives in Port Hope but one day a year his beloved home town becomes Fannyville and he loves it!
Every year since 1981, the citizens of Port Hope have held a 10 kilometer race along the Ganaraska River to commemorate the 1980 flood that devastated their downtown area. The race was dubbed “Float Your Fanny Down The Ganny” and acts as the official kick off to the Spring season in this festive community.
The weekend of the race changes each year, but it is usually in late March or early April. The 2015 edition had to be postponed until Saturday April 18th because of the heavy ice that remained in the river.
This year saw 130 canoes, kayaks and fan favourites…crazy crafts, set off from the starting point. Sadly, not all crazy crafts crossed the finish line and some that did were in various stages of disarray.
A crazy craft is a craft that has been built from, well, pretty much anything: anything that will float and carry its team (at least at the starting line). Inner tubes, big plastic drums, Styrofoam, plastic pop bottles, balloons and blowup furniture were all seen on the course this year. Let’s just assume all the hardware stores in the area had a run on duct tape. Awards can be earned for the fastest time, best costume, judges’ favourite and crowd favourite, to name a few.
The area surrounding the finish line near the Barrett Street Bridge becomes Fannyville, providing all kinds of fun for the whole family. There’s a craft area for the kids, bouncy castles, souvenirs of the event, crafts for sale, food vendors, and Don’s personal favourite…live music.
“The live music was great. You could smell the delicious burgers and hot dogs on the barbecue and the Bewdley french fry truck was here too. Watching those crazy crafts get themselves in and out of trouble was really entertaining. It was so much fun my face still hurts from smiling so much!”
Racing starts at 10 am but the festivities carry on all day.
The sun was shining fiercely, leaving some of us with our first sunburn of the year. The wind was strong and the current was fast. Extremely low water levels created a pretty interesting obstacle course just before the finish line. Let’s just say even the “superheroes” ended up wet or in the water.
More than one craft was left “up the creek without a paddle.” Oh, and lest you think the spectators got away unscathed, those crafts were armed with water balloons and water cannons and the competitors weren’t afraid to use them. The closer you were to the shoreline the better the chances were that you would look like you went for a swim. We can tell you from experience that the people on the bridges weren’t any safer. Some of those paddlers have pretty good arms. Any ball teams need a pitcher?
There is talk of the Stacee-Free Team entering next year. Wouldn’t that be fun? What do you say, Don? “Oh, Captain, my Captain!”