It’s time for a beach party, Detroit! Grab your bikinis and banana hammocks (just kidding, please don’t grab those…ever) and head to Belle Isle on August 8th for the fourth annual OABI Festival. OABI, or Once Around Belle Isle, is a fantastic way to have a great time and learn a little about paddle boarding, enjoy some tasty adult beverages, and listen to great local artists perform live on stage.
A huge draw for this event is the Moosejaw Paddlerama. Attendees of all ages will be able to participate in paddleboard and Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Yoga classes, kayak classes, a Paddlefit competition, canal tours and a whole lot more. Because the provided paddleboards and kayaks are in limited supply, make sure to register early if you want to take part in those events. These events are open to all paddling skill levels.
While all of that is well and good, the main event is the 7 mile race around the island. It all started four years ago by a group of paddle boarding friends. By 2013, it had grown and acquired sponsors like Green Veil Outdoor, Grand Circus Media, and the Michigan DNR. In 2014, the party moved to Belle Isle and became a whole festival event. This race is reserved for moderate to experienced paddlers.
To add to the fun-for-all-ages atmosphere, adults can treat themselves to a wide array cocktails made from award winning brands like Tito’s Vodka, Cabresto Tequila, and Grand Traverse Wine. The deceptively vegetarian Shimmy Shack will be on hand for your eating needs as well as the TasteBudz food truck, Drifter Coffee, and Time2Chill Gelato.
If that’s still not enough, New Belgium Brewing Company is sponsoring the “New Belgium Beer Garden” where there will be their trademark “Fat Tire Amber-ale” as well as other Belgian-inspired craft beers – including a few limited-release brews.
To register for OABI, head to www.OABIDetroit.com. Race tickets are $50 in advance, Moosejaw Paddlerama are $20 in advance, general admission tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the gate. To avoid those pesky service fees for all of the above except the race, you can head to the Ann Arbor, Birmingham, Detroit, Grosse Pointe, or Rochester Hills Moosejaw locations.
Have fun and paddle on, Detroit. And I was serious about the banana hammocks. Just, don’t.