Raft racers wanted for this year’s Aquafest extravaganza

Ely Aquafest extravaganza 2014. Picture: Steve Williams.

Ely Aquafest extravaganza 2014. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

The Rotary Clubs of Ely are urging would-be raft racers to sign up for this year’s Aquafest extravaganza.

Organisers hope more than 20 rafts will take to the River Great Ouse for this year’s event, which is scheduled to take place on Sunday, July 5.

Raft racers are being requested to apply to enter as soon as possible due to the limited numbers that can be handled at the event, and the Rotary club organisers of Aquafest are asking firms and individuals alike to build something innovative and interesting, competing for the most original craft.

Prizes are for just such builds, as well as winners of the various classes of race.

A spokesman for Aquafest added: “If there are any potential stallholders who sell anything a bit whacky or unconventional, anything that will be interesting to the thousands of people who regularly attend this event, a few places are available.

“Even people who have something different to display – not necessarily to sell – this would be of interest to the committee too.”

Rotary first held the Aquafest 37 years ago. In those days it was a raft race first and foremost, with only a few stalls on Lavender Green.

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It was started by Rotarian Stan Baker, with a small committee, and the first event was staged on July 16, 1978. The idea was conceived by Stan following a visit to the Rotary Club of Axminster in Devon, who were discussing their raft and canoe racing on the River Ax.

He thought this was a great idea, and adapted it for the River Ouse at Ely, and so Aquafest was born.

For contact with Rotary, the telephone number of the member who is running Aquafest, Phil Smith, is 01353 669558, or for the raft race, Viv Doji, 01353 669154. The club’s website is www.elyrotary.co.uk