Spirit of the Lake Regatta raises money for local causes | SkyHiNews.com

Spirit of the Lake Regatta raises money for local causes

A large crowd gathered around Grand Lake to celebrate the annual Spirit of the Lake Regatta on Saturday, enjoying boat races, music and beautiful weather for a number of good causes.

Infinite West created the event over five years ago as a fundraiser to support the Colorado River Headwaters conservation, and to promote responsible environmentalism in the county.

The regatta kicked off bright and early at 7 a.m. with the rowing race, and featured a number different types of races including stand up paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking, special kids races and the crowd favorite dragon boat races.

"We're all working together for a great cause," said Ken Fucik from Grand Lake. "It's a group that's trying to get an outstanding water designation for Grand Lake, so we're all working together. And I think we're going to win, we'll blow everyone away."

While the main goal was to raise money for the headwaters conservation, there were several individuals there to raise awareness of other programs and non-profits in the area.

Another dragon boat racing team, the Grand Dames, came out to support Taking Steps to End All Cancer, a local non-profit dedicated to assisting those with cancer in the county.

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"We came out because we heard this was all for non-profits, and we're one of the biggest non-profits here in Grand County," said Gladys Howard, of Taking Steps to End All Cancer. "When we found out that we couldn't be helped by the [Susan G. Komen Foundation] we started our own race to take care of anybody in Grand County with any kind of cancer, regardless of insurance. Every year we get bigger and we can do more to help."

The dragon boat race was new this year, and allowed participants to race for their favorite charity. Racers took on such causes as watershed education programs, neuroblastoma, and scholarships.
Those not participating in the races still enjoyed their time at the lake. When not spectating the event, residents took to swimming, fishing, and playing with their pets in the chilly water.

Races in the morning turned to a party in the afternoon, as the crowd enjoyed live music from HunkerDown, and a number of beers from Great Divide Brewing, Never Summer, 7 Hermits, Upslope and Bristol which stocked the Brews and Crews event following the races.

"This is my second year at this event, and it's just great energy," said Jay Sanders from Denver, who participated in the dragon boat race. "I love it. It was good, refreshing, wet, nice and energetic. And now it's time for a beer."

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