The pickup trucks filed through the parking lots in Marianna at a slow pace on this brisk, sunny Saturday afternoon, stopping long enough to allow the canoes secured on top to be removed and put into their position for launching.
The traffic was heavy, a good sign for the year’s Marianna Canoe Race. More than 150 flotation devices – they did not necessarily have to be canoes – were slipped into the water to make the few mile journey down Ten Mile Creek, where well-wishers and food and drink awaited at the finish line.
Some racers dressed in costumes to accentuate a theme. Others decorated their canoes with traditional or unusual regalia rarely found on the high seas, or even the creeks of Western Pennsylvania. The O’Brien family was the first of the finishers but this was not so much a race as it was a relaxing ride among friends. Hundreds lined the race path to cheer their racers on.
This year’s race, the most successful in the eight-year history, raised thousands of dollars for numerous operations, including the stocking of trout into Ten Mile Creek.