By REINE BETHANY
The annual Freeport Village Canoe Race turns 50 this year!
Sponsored by the Freeport Chamber of Commerce, the Freeport Police Athletic League and the Village of Freeport, the race draws participants from inside and outside the village boundaries. Kayakers, dedicated canoe enthusiasts and people who just enjoy a beautiful activity on the water have thronged to the dock at Waterfront Park since 1972.
However, this year, the race is not at Waterfront Park. It happens on August 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Cow Meadow Park, which is at the foot of S. Main St.
The village acquired ownership of Cow Meadow in early February.
At last year’s canoe race, Mayor Robert Kennedy teamed up with Nassau County Legislator Steve Rhoads to capture the gold medal in the first heat.
“This was a very bipartisan event,” Kennedy said after their canoe crossed the finish line. “As you can see, Steve Rhoads, our Republican legislator, and myself joined together to win. However,” he added, tongue-in-cheek, “I was in the rear of the canoe, steering to our first-place win.” The mayor is a Democrat.
The event is organized by Marianne Endo, whose late husband, Lester Endo Sr., founded Endo Electric 44 years ago.
“Since I’ve been in charge, I’ve made it to be a fun family member amateur event,” Endo said during the 49th race. “Years ago, they were very emphatic about this race. If you came in first and were fooling around and got so excited that you dumped [overturned the canoe], they took your medal away. I like doing the canoes just to see people enjoy themselves.”
To join the fun, register by calling the Freeport Chamber of Commerce, (516) 223-8840.