The clouds have cleared, and once again, it feels like summer here in the Bend. Good thing, because we're on the cusp of the start of a new school year. Next week, students from IUSB, Notre Dame, Saint Mary's, etc will return. Enjoy your last weekend of congestion-free Grape Road, and celebrate with a popular summer activity distinctive to South Bend: rafting on the East Race waterway.
Part of the South Bend Parks system, the East Race opened in 1984 after two years of construction, and more than 200,000 have enjoyed its almost 2000 ft stretch of whitewater. While you can find expert paddlers testing their skills on the East Race any day of the week, on the weekend the Parks Department opens it to the larger public with basic equipment for rent. For $5 a 'ride', you receive an inflatable kayak or raft, paddle, helmet and life jacket to brave the rapids. If you have no experience on whitewater, don't worry -- the rapids are only class 2, enough to provide a bit of thrill but not strong to toss anyone out of the raft.
This is the last weekend that the rentals are available -- don't let another year go by without experiencing one of South Bend's greatest attractions!
When: Saturday, 12-5pm; Sunday, 1-5pm
Where: Park and buy your tickets in the parking lot opposite Seitz Park, between The Emporium and AM General Building
Cost: $5/ride. Rides generally take about 5 minutes.
TIPS: Cash only. You must wear close-toed shoes (no flip-flops), and although no one actually goes into the river, you will get soaked. Dress appropriately.
Kids are welcome -- the first ride might be intimidating, but they'll be hooked after it! -- but must be at least 4'6".
There's an ice cream truck and sometimes a climbing wall on site, but Corby's and the Emporium are probably your best bets to dry off and cool down afterward.