On a scorching hot Tuesday afternoon, with temperatures approaching 100 degrees, Mahwah residents found a great way to cool off taking part in what is annual passage of summer in town – Paddle Day at Lake Henry.
Paddle Day, now in its tenth year of existence in Mahwah, has seen it’s fair share of changes over the years. In the recent past it was an event that would take place on every Tuesday evening in July; however, because of costs, the event took place Tuesday night for the only time this summer.
“This is one of our favorite events,” said Mahwah Recreation Director Dawn DaPuzzo. “We get a lot of repeat visits from people. As you can see we have dozens of small kids who come out.”
Dozens of people came within the first hour of the event, which is reserved for Mahwah residents only. They stood in line off the right of the lake, waiting their turn to kayak around Lake Henry. Each person would get 10 minutes on the lake to swim in the kayaks.
“We’ve come here the last three summers,” said Mahwah resident Susan Kerrigan. “This is a great for going out for some fun in your own backyard. You get to meet people, and it’s a day full of energy and smiles.”
Even Kerrigan’s daughter Jaden gave the ride thumbs up, after they finished their turn on the lake.
All the boats are rentals from Ramsey Outdoor, which has helped the Mahwah Department of Recreation hold this event every year. The day is a great way for the outdoor sports company to market itself to the community.
“Our original intent was to give people a chance to get in the water in any way possible,” said Ramsey Outdoor owner Robert Fisher, “There are people who see us on the street, long after the event and they thank us for letting them paddle with the boats”
Added DaPuzzo: “A lot of people have never been on a boat before, and we are giving people that opportunity, while providing Ramsey Outdoor some exposure.”
Both DaPuzzo and Fisher agree that exposing kayaking to people is good for business. In the past, after people have used the kayak’s around Lake Henry, more often than not, they think about buying a kayak from Fisher’s store.
Case in point is Andy Schmidt and his daughter Brianna. They were seen swimming up the coastline from their home, when they spotted this year’s paddle day and swam to shore. Schmidt brought his daughter to the Mahwah Paddle Day for five years, and this year he decided to buy her a kayak. He got his own kayak on Father’s Day.
“We've brought her here since she was little and she took a liking to it and we decided to buy them,” Schmidt said. “I’ve had my kayak for six weeks, and already we’ve been to Overpeck Park, and down the Delaware River. We do everything from hiking to biking and kayaking. Mahwah is the perfect place to do these sports.”
Unfortunately, because of their budget and time, Ramsey Outdoor and Mahwah Recreation agreed to hold the event only once this year. The next Paddle Day will be next summer.