HomeMoorestown NewsPaddling for proceeds: Race benefits care of Strawbridge Lake

Paddling for proceeds: Race benefits care of Strawbridge Lake

Courtesy of Kathy Drachowski
The event featured almost 100 racers, 42 vendors, a 50/50 raffle, microbreweries and activities for kids.

The Strawbridge Lake Beautification Committee (SLBC) held its sixth annual Moorestown paddle board/kayak race and family festival at Strawbridge Lake Park on June 8.

“It was great,” said George Gravenstine, founding board member of the SBLC. “We had races from pretty much every half an hour, 45 minutes from 10 (a.m.) until 2 (p.m.), so people were on the water until about 3 (p.m.).

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“Parking always becomes an issue,” he added, “but I don’t look at that as a problem. It just means that we’re busy, there’s a lot of people there. It was great. The vibe was great.”

The event featured almost 100 racers, 42 vendors, food trucks, a 50/50 raffle, a silent auction, microbreweries, bands and activities for kids. But Gravenstine shared how the SLBC wants to add more activities in the years to come.

“We’re definitely going to have some type of amusement added, a bounce house, a slide and/or maybe a dunk tank,” he promosed. “If we can get a lot of volunteers to do the dunk tank, (we’ll) try to do both. I just don’t know if people will be willing to do it. We could get teachers, we could get coaches, people from the township … It’ll be fun.”

Last year’s fundraiser raised nearly $26,000, according to the SLBC website. Ninety racers competed in the 1-mile and 4-mile races. About 50 vendors were in attendance and 45 businesses and families donated to silent auction baskets that netted more than $2,000.

Funds from the event were used for a lake-edge cleaup and the installation of a third floating dock near the children’s pond. But that’s not all that the SLBC has going on. The nonprofit recently partnered with Save the Environment of Moorestown (STEM) to install a pollinator garden near the lake’s famous stone bears.

Courtesy of Kathy Drachowski

“ … We’re planting 50 pollinators in that garden … so it’ll flower all season long,” Gravenstine said earlier this month. “The lake needs some … There’s some flowering plants but there’s no color to them. It’s all green, and that’ll be a big change I think, and that’ll be awesome.”

The first project for the SLBC was what is now an annual lake edge cleanup that has taken place each winter since 2019 at a cost of about $6,600. The cleanup involves the removal of overgrown weeds and brush on the Haines Drive side of the lake so visitors can easily access the lake.

After realizing a professional landscape company was needed, the SLBC held its first paddle board/dayak race and family festival in 2018 to fund the project, netting about $5000, then held a second fundraiser in December through social media and word of mouth. Enough money was raised to fund the first cleanup in the winter of 2019.

Established in 2018, the nonprofit’s mission is to restore the lake to the town treasure it once was through community involvement and fundraising events.

“We’re going to do it again next year, the second weekend in June, and we’ll be back at it,” Gravenstine said.


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