Paddlers from across N.E. descend on Franklin for Winni River Days

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  • The unveiling of €œKayak Man€ an art installation by local Colby Morrill happened on Friday, June 21, 2019 near the trestle in downtown Franklin. Kayak Man is a more than 20-foot tall man made entirely out of recycled kayaks. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Brendan Rickard (right) and Cory Gallant from Maine love the rapids on the Winnipasaaukee River coming into downtown Franklin. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Cassie Langone, was walking around the park with her fiance, Nathan Segedy, in downtown Franklin on Friday, June 22, 2019. “€œIt seems very community oriented,” said Langone of her first Winni River Days. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The unveiling of “Kayak Man” an art installation by local Colby Morrill happened on Friday, June 21, 2019 near the trestle in downtown Franklin. Kayak Man is a more than 20-foot tall man made entireley out of recycled kayaks. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Bendan Rickard of York, Maine, makes his way down the Winnipesaukee River near the trestle in downtown Franklin on Friday evening. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Marty Parichand (second from right), owner of Outdoor New England, yells at kayakers in his raft to row as hard as they can as they make their way down the Winnipasaukee River on Friday evening, June 21, 2019. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Marty Parichand (left), owner of Outdoor New England, yells at paddlers in his raft to row as hard as they can as they make their way down the Winnipasaukee River on Friday evening, June 21, 2019. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Marty Parichand (second from right), owner of Outdoor New England, yells at kayakers in his raft to row as hard as they can as they make their way down the Winnipasaukee River on Friday evening, June 21, 2019. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 6/22/2019 10:20:35 PM

Greg Lee noticed something special when he was whitewater paddling in Franklin on Friday.

“It’s nice to have people cheering for you as you come down the river,” said Lee, an experienced paddler from Lebanon. “I like the community aspect – it’s not something I’ve really seen before.”

Lee was paddling in the second annual Winni River Days, a whitewater festival held in the city by Mill City Park, the nonprofit working to bring a whitewater park to Franklin.

The event brought out whitewater enthusiasts from New Hampshire and beyond for a weekend of downriver, rubber raft and boatercross racing on the Winnipesaukee River. Volunteers offered shuttle rides up river for paddlers who wanted to take runs down outside of the race schedule.

“It’s a really nice difficulty of river where people that are real good can still have fun on it, doing some play and surf, and then people like us who are trying to cut our teeth can come here and push it,” said Brendan Rickard, of Kittery, Maine, who said he’s been paddling for six years.

“It’s really gorgeous with the old mill ruins as you come down,” said Jessie Sterling, also of Maine, as she rode the shuttle up for another run.

Mill City Park is hoping to make the whitewater park not only for paddlers, but for other community members as well.

On Friday afternoon, there were vendors selling beer, pizza and local crafts in Trestle View Park.

“We just walked down here, and so far it’s been really fun,” said Cassie Langone, who was walking around the park with her fiance, Nathan Segedy, drinking a beer. “It seems very community oriented.”

Langone said she and Segedy just moved to Franklin from Chichester in December.

“Our neighborhood is super cute, very quiet,” she said. “It’s just beautiful here.”

Friday also marked the unveil ing of “Kayak Man” an art installation by Colby Morrill of Franklin. Kayak Man is a more than 20-foot tall man made entirely out of recycled kayaks. It was created as part of a contest put on by Franklin City Manager Judie Milner for residents to create a design that encapsulates Franklin’s future as a hub for outdoor recreation.

“I put my heart and soul into this,” Morrill said to cheers during Kayak Man’s unveiling. “I hope you all enjoy it.”




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