Skip to main content

Dick Reese Kipona Canoe and Kayak Races - Saturday, September 7, 2024

What is it? The Dick Reese Kipona Canoe and Kayak Races is a distance race for all classes of kayaks and canoes. 


The event is named after Dick Reese, a Harrisburg, PA, native who was an avid and successful canoe racer in the 1940s and 1950s. In the 1990s, he worked to bring canoe racing back to the annual Labor Day weekend Kipona art and music festival that takes place on the riverfront. We have moved the race to the following weekend to make it more accessible to people with holiday weekend commitments.

This is going to be a low-key event. There will be no trophies, medals, or T-shirts. You will get a chance for a friendly race and afterwards you will get a time, a handshake, and a pat on the back. Afterwards, we will also go to the Harrisburg Beach Club to celebrate everyone's performance.


Where is it? The start and finish will be from the north end of City Island next to the Harrisburg Beach Club. ( The address to the start area is: 700 Riverside Dr, Harrisburg, PA 17101

The distance races consist of an 8-mile race for competition style canoes and kayaks, a 6-mile race for recreational canoes and kayaks, and a 1-mile race for kids 16 years and under. The 6-mile and 8-mile races will be two or three laps around Harrisburg's City Island. The 1-mile race will be an out and back course. We will have buoys marking the course and a safety boat. 


When is it? Saturday, September 7, 2024. The first race will start at 10 AM. Registration at the race start area will be from 8 AM to 9:30 AM


Advance on-line registration will soon be available through Paddle Guru here: You can register the day of the race at the race site from 8 AM to 9:30 AM. 


How much does it cost? Entry fees are $15 per adult, $15 per child 16 and younger, and $45 per family of three or more (parents and children combined). Your entry fee includes insurance through the American Canoe Association. All proceeds after race expenses are donated to Harrisburg Inspiring Connections Outdoors. All of the race organizers are unpaid volunteers.