Paddle for Fame, one of the town’s trademark events, drew thousands of partiers on land and water. But it was the 621 on the water that set a new world record for the largest man/paddle-powered boat/raft-up/flotilla gathering ever.
The official numbers were verified by the World Record Academy via photos captured in a series of flyovers by aerial photographer Leila Hauck.
“It was wonderful, we surpassed our expectations and set a new world record,” said Mike Guzzardo, one of the organizers of the event. “We had 621 paddlers connected at the time of the photograph and beat our last year’s record of 492 … It’s a dream come true.”
Sponsored in part by the Discovery Bay Chamber of Commerce, the sixth annual event – held on June 30 – stepped up its game this year to include more than 30 local vendors, live music by Touch of Class and plenty of family-oriented activities.
“This was our best year ever,” said Chamber President Rita Caruso. “We had a sold-out vendor alley this year and with the help of Amanda Dove and the chamber, our community support of sponsorship helped raise the bar for this spectacular community event. It was over the top!”
The community celebration has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years, attracting participants from across the county. This year’s attendance was so high –besting 2,000 throughout the day – that plans for next year’s event might include additional assistance.
“I’m seeing that this is getting so big we are going to have to call in some help next year,” said Guzzardo. “We had thousands of people on the water, and once you get to that size, you need some help. We’ll be talking to the Sheriff and Marine Patrol for some organizational help next year.”
But for Lisa Lucido, who recently moved to Discovery Bay, this year’s Paddle for Fame event was all about creating that small-town feeling of community. “This was the first year I participated in the Paddle for Fame,” said Lucido. “And everyone was fun and very respectful. The event seemed very well organized, and although I didn’t make it to the shore, it looked like they had great attendance from the vendors. I’m looking forward to next year.”
Paddle for Fame wasn’t the only summer event to set records out in Discovery Bay this season. On June 23, residents set up their tents in Cornell Park for the Great American Campout, a nationwide overnight sleepover sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation and designed to foster a love and appreciation of nature while encouraging families to unplug for a night under the stars.
Last year, Discovery Bay campers totaled 300 for the inaugural event. This time around, more than 450 participants came out for the overnight.
Did they set a national record? You bet, said Dove: “We beat our own record from last year, and the National Wildlife Federation said we were the largest registered group in the nation. It was an awesome day – peaceful, relaxing and fun for all ages. We met so many families who had never camped before and found this was the perfect way to discover the joys of the outdoors.”
And joyful is what it’s all about, said Guzzardo: “It’s all very exciting for us. “But the idea is to showcase the Delta in a fun way, to show people what a great natural resource it is and be careful not to squander it. It’s a wonderful place.”