Planning is underway for 2021 AuSable Marathon and River Festival
Tue, 02/16/2021 - 2:19pm caleb
2021 AuSable River Canoe Marathon currently slated for July 24-25 after cancellation of the event in 2020
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Event organizers and local emergency services officials announced on Thursday, February 11, they are proceeding with plans to conduct the AuSable River Canoe Marathon and the AuSable River Festival in 2021.
“We are excited to announce that the 2021 Consumers Energy AuSable River Canoe Marathon race and AuSable River Festival is on. We have met with local officials and authorities and planning is underway. We do not have all the questions answered yet and are continuing to get updates in accordance with current guidelines, so stay tuned to our media outlets for more information,” organizers said in a press release dated February 11.
The press release was sent from a group that includes the AuSable River Festival Committee, the AuSable River Canoe Marathon Committees, the Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce, the City of Grayling, the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department, and Crawford County Emergency Management.
The AuSable River Canoe Marathon – a 120-mile non-stop race from Grayling to Oscoda – and the AuSable River Festival – a week of activities leading up the Marathon that usually includes a craft show, a parade, a car show, and other events – were cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is unknown if conditions will allow the events to happen this year, but the planning process is underway.
“We’re cautiously optimistic we’re going to be able to have the AuSable Marathon this year,” said City of Grayling Police Chief Doug Baum.
Phil Weiler of the AuSable River Canoe Marathon Committee said organizers are ready to get to work after being “stuck in neutral” for months.
“It’s time for the community, the businesses, and the paddlers to look forward to something,” Weiler said. “Hopefully we’re back to racing.”
Weiler said talks with Consumers Energy, which owns several dams along the AuSable River Marathon course, and local law enforcement agencies have been positive. Weiler said the group is “cautious but excited.”
“We haven’t been told no and we’ve got a bunch of yesses, so we’re ready to go,” Weiler said.
The start of the 2021 AuSable River Canoe Marathon is currently slated for 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 24.
The 2021 AuSable River Festival is scheduled for July 16-25. Events listed as of Monday, February 15, included the 10th Annual Car & Truck Show Cruise Night, the Annual Classic Car & Truck Show, Kid’s Day, the H.U.P. Race, the 43rd Annual Arts & Crafts Show, entertainment on the AuSable Mainstage, the AuSable River Festival Parade, and more.
“We understand that this is a challenging time as we wait for more information on what events we can host in the 2021 year. At this time, the AuSable River Festival Committee is in the planning stage, but please note that this year’s festival may look different than it has in the past,” according to the AuSable River Festival’s website.