53rd Annual Boatnik Festivities Underway

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Sat, May 26 2012 at 6:36 PM, Updated: Sat, May 26 2012 at 7:19 PM

On Saturday, to kick off Memorial Day weekend, a few showers decided to linger iin the Rogue Valley.

Luckily, officials said the soggy weather didn't dampen the 53rd annual Boatnik celebration happening this weekend.

At 10 o'clock Saturday morning the annual Boatnik parade took to the streets of downtown Grants Pass...despite the wet weather.

"It's memorial day weekend. It always rains," said Renee McCage, who lives in Grants Pass.

Parade-goer Merissa Adams said she wouldn't miss the festivities either way, "we come rain or shine," she said.

Interestingly enough, Boatnik organizers said a little rain actually helps attendance.

"People plan to go camping [...] and they cancel those plans because of rain and now they're in town and go well let's go to Boatnik," said JJ DeForest, President of the Grants Pass Active Club, the organization in charge of Boatnik.

After the parade, the celebration continued at Riverside Park.

"I love watching the boats," said Coos Bay resident Melody Evanow.

About 12 dragboats raced on the river.

In another part of the park, kids got a chance to let loose and have some fun.

"I love going on the rides," began 15-year-old John Fisk of Medford.

"[I love] the food of course, teriyaki chicken and curly fries," he continued.

Whether people came for the parade, boat races, fair food or rides, many people said the best part of Boatnik are the proceeds that go toward helping children.

"We give back to kids fighting cancer, kids in need [...] anyone who asks for money, we help them out," said DeForest.

He said the Grants Pass Active Club tries to give $100,000 to kids in need every year.

While people did not fail to have some fun, many people made sure to keep in mind the true meaning of Memorial Day.

"I appreciate all the troops do for us, it's a day to celebrate them," said Coos Bay Resident, Kris Evanow.

Boatnik festivities run through monday. For a schedule of events, visit their website at http://www.boatnik.com/

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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