Area boaters will shuffle the deck for a good cause next month when a new event involving playing cards comes to Sarnia.
Making Waves for Joanne is a poker run on water and a sidebar to the International Power Boat Festival.
Participants in up to 75 boats will visit checkpoints and draw a playing card at each stop, with the best five-card hand declared the winner.
Money raised from the Aug. 8 run will fund a scholarship created in memory Joanne Klauke-LaBelle, the city music teacher and Harmony for Youth founder who touched the lives of thousands of children.
“The response has been fabulous so far. We’ve got registrations coming in and I don’t think we’ll have any issue reaching our goal of 75 boats,” said spokesperson Scott MacLean.
The poker run starts and ends at Sarnia Bay Marina, which is providing the dockage. Checkpoints will be on the St. Clair River and possibly Lake Huron.
“The weather in Sarnia can change quickly so we have two routes planned,” MacLean said.
At each checkpoint boaters will tie off or anchor and participate in activities before collecting a playing card and heading off to the next stop. The run is expected to take about three hours, MacLean said.
“It’s not a race by any means. It’s a day out with family and friends on the water, making some money for charity and having a lot of fun.”
The winning poker hand wins free dockage for a year at Bridgeview Marina. Register at Stokes Bay, Sarnia Bay Marina or sarniapowerboats.com
Klauke-LaBelle died in April at the age of 47. She had devoted her life to youth and stressed the philosophy of “paying it forward.”
The memorial scholarship, created through the Sarnia Community Foundation, will help students seeking to study performing or visual arts.
The Powerboat Festival is expected to draw 30,000 people to Sarnia’s waterfront Aug. 7-9 for live concerts, boat races and a lineup of free, family-friendly entertainment.