Raft Races Return Under Different Name

For the first time in 18 years, the Chunky River raft races are back on Saturday with some major changes.

This year, it's the Chunky Shoals Raft Race, held by the Chunky Shoal's Fish Camp. The owners hope to get away from the wild activities of previous raft races and get back to a more welcoming environment for the whole family.

"We're starting it back, so it can be more of a family environment, get families together and get everybody together, get the community," Rick Lewis says. "We have a beautiful river. We have a beautiful location."

There will still be the traditional homemade rafts, boats and kayaks on the river. But this time, there will be fun activities like a wet slide, dunking booth, face-painting and rubber duck race for the kids.

"While it was previously sponsored by Large Beer Companies, the Chunky River Raft Race has no corporate sponsors this year, only the Chunky Shoal's Fish Camp," Lewis points out.

The boat launches will begin at 7 a.m., and the other festivities will start at 10. Whiskey Creek will give a live music performance at 6 p.m. Lewis said they are expecting over 100 entries in the raft race, alone, and many others in attendance for the other activities.

The sponsors are working with the East Mississippi Foothills Land Trust to clean the river area after the races are over, but they're encouraging everyone who comes out to respect nature and not litter.

Admission on Saturday is free and parking is $3.