Lending A Hand Raft Race in Van Buren

Sep 25, 2014


VAN BUREN – Over 250 people are expected this weekend at The Landing in Van Buren to participate in the Lending a Hand Fundraiser to add funds to the area’s cancer support group.

Della Bedell of The Landing said this event began in 2009 and seems to grow every year. The primary events of the weekend are “Paddle By Day” and “Gig By Night.”

“We have more fun planned this year than we ever have,” said Bedell.

Lending A Hand helps cancer patients and their families with many of the miscellaneous expenses that come with cancer treatment like hotel stays, fulfilling nutritional and cosmetic needs, and other needs not covered by insurance.

The program is a component of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and was organized by a volunteer committee, some of whom had experienced cancer in their own lives and families.

The unique thing about the Lending A Hand Fund, explained Bedell, is that all funds raised stay local to help local people. “These funds actually stay in Van Buren and are for Van Buren families,” said Bedell.

Registration for Saturday’s events begins at 1 p.m. at The Landing. The entry fee is $30 per person and $10 for those ages 12 and under. Those participating in the Paddle By Day event can use rafts or boats which are provided. The Raft Races begin at 3 p.m.

The fish fry begins at 5 p.m., and gigging will begin at dark. Gig By Night boats will launch from the Landing gravel bar. There will be a one hour time limit on gigging.

Andrew Bedell noted that the rafting and gigging events attract people from all over the area.

“The gigging is for fish, primarily yellow suckers and hog suckers,” explained Bedell. Participants must have a valid fishing license to compete.

Among the events added for children are a “Knock Out Cancer” game, a “Kiss Off Cancer” game, bobbing for apples, pumpkin decorating, and a photo booth. All-time favorite goodies like funnel cakes and s’mores will also be available.

Live music is going to be provided by Carter’s West. T-shirts, hoodies, and long-sleeved t-shirts will also be available as part of the fundraiser. Each participant will receive a shirt with their registration.

Corporate sponsors for this year’s event are Sterling Bank, Coors Light, and The Landing.