Organizers of the 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run announced this morning that the event will take place July 17-19 as scheduled.
The poker run, which benefits the Make-a-Wish Foundation and River Hospital, unfolds in a cozy, slow-paced community known as Clayton, which roars to life when participants chart a course there in the summer. The idea for the run formulated four years ago, when it was brought to organizer (and now event president) Bobby Cantwell to gauge his interest level in getting involved. It has since become one of the most anticipated and scenic powerboating events of the year, with spectacular views of the famous Singer Castle in Chippewa Bay, NY.
“Our committee met Wednesday and voted unanimously,” Cantwell told Speedboat. “New York state has started lifting a lot of its restrictions—we are now entering Phase 2 of Gov. Cuomo’s four-phase plan for reopening. We’re very confident that we will be proceeding forward and firing on all eight cylinders.”
Traditionally, the event begins with a welcoming Street Party on Thursday, which this year would be on July 16; the actual poker run will take place on Saturday, July 18. Cantwell said that the Street Party may ultimately be condensed as organizers work toward abiding by all New York State social-distancing guidelines and regulations. “But by that point, hopefully restaurants will be completely open, although they may only be at 50%. It’s hard for us to tell at this point, but it does appear like everything will be open,” he said.
Cantwell added that the committee was “very confident” that the event would be able to handle the number of participants, based on the fact that it’s an outdoor event with some open-air tented areas. “We can’t be inside the ballroom at the hotel,” he said, “but we’ve already outgrown the hotel. We’ll be in very large tents that fit us outside on the courtyard.”
The inaugural 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run hosted 74 attendees, while the second and third both attracted over 100. Given that boaters are clamoring for outdoor fun and excitement, this year’s event stands an excellent chance of attracting more than ever before.
“My personal opinion is that we could have an excessive number of people who are willing and ready to get out on the water and get some fresh air, as well as a sense of normalcy,” Cantwell said. “But as an organization, we have to be respectful to the river and to New York state guidelines, so we probably will limit our numbers this year.” No limit has yet been decided, he said.