Paddlers around the world hear “Old Town Canoe,” recognize the brand, and likely know the name of the local retailer who can sell them one.
In these parts, we’re lucky in that regard: We can simply point our vehicles toward Old Town, ask a random passer-by where the retail store is, and end up with a boat on the roof rack in a matter of minutes.
And for years many locals (as well as paddlers from across the state and Atlantic Canada) have set their course for the Old Town Canoe factory store each spring for the company’s annual sale.
Bargains were plentiful. Buyers were happy. The river gods were appeased.
This year, Old Town Canoe has thrown a little wrinkle into its annual sale of overstocked boats: Instead of holding it at the factory store in Old Town, this weekend’s shindig will happen at locations all over the state. The sale will run from Friday through Sunday.
According to an email from Scott Phillips of Northeast Outdoor Sports, a sales representative for Old Town Canoe and Johnson Outdoors, seven authorized Old Town Canoe dealers will participate in this year’s spring sale.
Phillips said those dealers traditionally stock some “blem” and obsolete boats, but in preparation for the blowout sale, each has stocked even more boats provided by the factory.
A year ago, I joined the club and spent the better part of a morning admiring canoes and kayaks at Old Town Canoe. Eventually, I purchased a small Old Town Guide model canoe and a couple of paddles. All around me, sale attendees were scooping up boats two, three or four at a time. One eager shopper traveled down from Nova Scotia and left with boats for himself and a few of his paddling pals.
This year’s good news: If you want to shop for a boat, you can do so in a location that’s likely a lot more convenient for you — unless you’re an Old Town resident who enjoyed driving up the road to take part in the yearly clearance.
Here, then, are your shopping options (along with a contact number for each):
- Ski Rack Sports in Bangor, 945-6474
- Johnson True Value in Calais, 454-2551
- Kayak Country in Fort Fairfield, 540-6573
- Indian Hill Trading Post in Greenville, 695-2104
- Maine Sport Outfitters in Rockport, 236-7120
- Belgrade Canoe & Kayak in Belgrade, 495-2005
- Al’s Sports in Lewiston, 784-7591
You may want to call ahead to confirm the hours of the sale, and to find out if the kind of boat you’re looking for will be in stock.
Whitewater weekend on tap
Avid paddlers can spend two days on the water during a series of events that are being billed as Whitewater Weekend.
The weekend kicks off Saturday on Souadabscook Stream in Hampden. Sprint races will begin at 9 a.m. — registration starts at 8 a.m. at the Grange hall on Emerson Mill Road — and a downriver race begins at noon. Registration for the downriver race starts at 11 a.m.
On Sunday, paddlers will shift their attention to Marsh Stream in Winterport where sprint and downriver races will again be staged. Sprint racers can register at the Winterport Riverside Riders Snowmobile Club on Pine View Drive beginning at 8 a.m. The sprint race starts at 9 a.m.
The Marsh Stream downriver race begins at noon and registration closes at 11:30 a.m.
Entry fees are $20 per person for the first race of the day and $5 for each additional racer. Those 21 and younger can enter all of the day’s races and receive a six-month American Canoe Association membership for just $15.
Youth club banquet scheduled
Supporters of Maine’s Youth Fish & Game Association will gather at the Old Town Elks Club on Saturday for the club’s annual benefit dinner and auction.
An auction preview begins at 4:30 p.m. and dinner will be served from 5 to 7. A lively auction will follow. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for youths ages 5-15 and free for those under 5.
The MYFGA operates a clubhouse on Pickerel Pond outside of Milford and runs a variety of outdoor-related events and camps throughout the year.
Trappers who have a few pelts that they need checked can take advantage of a fur-tagging day that will be held at the Pushaw Lake Snowmobile Club in Hudson from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
“I’m going to be on hand with fur tags for anybody who has some late-season beaver or some incidental otter that they’d like to have tagged,” game warden Jim Fahey said.
Fahey said snowmobile club members will fire up the grill and serve hot dogs and hamburgers.
Bass club holding Kenduskeag cleanup
Many of the state’s bass clubs have established themselves as solid stewards of Maine’s natural resources, and a newly formed club is certainly getting off on the right foot in that regard.
The River City Bass Masters will stage a trash and litter cleanup day on Kenduskeag Stream on Sunday. Participants can meet at Intown Plaza on Harlow Street in Bangor at 1 p.m. Trash bags will be provided.
Bruce Buckley, the organizer of the event, can be reached at 356-1085 to answer any questions.