HansaFest mania is set to descend upon Cradock this October as the 2016 Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon temporarily turns the small Eastern Cape town into ‘Little Germany’.
The two-day, 82km canoe marathon from Grassridge Dam to Cradock Sports Complex is an annual must-do event for paddlers the country over and the 35th edition promises to be another memorable on-the-water adventure for all.
The festivities will however again spill over beyond the banks of the Fish River, as the thousands of paddlers, their supporters, visiting party-goers and locals alike enjoy the celebrations that come with this year’s uniquely Eastern Cape Oktoberfest with a distinct twist.
The popular “Pimp My Ride” competition encourages paddlers to decorate their craft and paddle in fancy dress outfits reflecting the theme, and the HansaFest theme is sure to have plenty of steins and lederhosen in evidence on the river.
“The Hansa Fish is all about beautiful landscapes, rapids that take your breath away and test your paddling skill, stamina, “gees” and an all-round party vibe,” explains the organizing committee’s Social and Entertainment Coordinator, Ryan Copeman.
“As always, we’ve got some of South Africa’s top bands lined up, our awesome pre-race potjie on the Thursday night and an endless supply of Hansa for everyone to enjoy throughout the weekend.
“What we’re most excited about though is this year’s theme – HansaFest!”
Starting a day earlier than previous years, this year’s action get underway Wednesday 5 October will pave the way for a full five-day programme of festivities.
“This year we kick-off things off on the Wednesday before the race with a 12km Fish River Canoe Club time trial.
“Apart from everyone being able to clear the cobwebs after their travels to Cradock, the time trial will also see the first 60 finishers who finish within 45 minutes qualify for an earlier start on day one of the Hansa Fish through our newly introduce ‘Wild Card’ batch.
“We usually get around thirty or so boats at our weekly FRCC time trial and we can’t wait for this year’s pre-Fish time trial to see us break the 100-paddler mark for the first time!
Once the midweek racing is over, paddlers and their seconds can the reunite and catch up over supper, laid on by the Fish River Canoe Club and Hansa Fish organisers.
“The time trial will be followed by a free lamp spit braai, complete with our delicious roosterbrood.
“HOFBRÄUHAUS – a local, live oompa band – will also be on hand to keep everyone well entertained in true HansaFest style, while our traditionally Bavarian clad Hansa promo girls make sure no one goes thirsty,” says Copeman.
As has become tradition at the Hansa Fish, the boat that embraces the theme best will again win themselves the much sought-after “Pimp My Ride” prize of their combined bodyweights in beer, courtesy of Hansa.
The large contingent of tertiary students that flock to Cradock annually for the Hansa Fish will also stand a chance of securing their share of beer with the winners of this year’s ‘Gees’ Award earning themselves ‘Beer for a Year’.
The 2016 Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon takes place from Grassridge Dam to Cradock Sports Complex on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 October.