Naples is a great little city. Sure it costs a small fortune to live there and it has a large retired population that doesn’t know how to drive their big cars, but it’s unbelievably beautiful and has a lot of charm.
Part of the charming personality comes from the annual Naples Canoes Races. I would say it’s one of the most entertaining events the city puts on and also one of the biggest parties. I know a lot of Naples people like the Swamp Buggie Races as well, but I don’t drink Coors Light or Busch beer, so I’m not interested. Besides, why go get muddy in a swamp when you can hang out on the beach while you indulge in good beverages like Corona and Malibu and Pineapple. I guarantee you they don’t serve those at some Swamp Buggie race.
The Canoe Races have several different heats. You have your themed race, which people and companies come up with amazingly creative and outlandish designs. This year I believe Prince William and Princess Catherine made an appearance. I don’t see how many of these float, and most of the time they don’t, which makes for good entertainment. What do you think, should we have a Castaway canoe next year?
The next heat is the amateurs. This one is highly entertaining as well. It is the biggest group and everyone starts at the same time. It’s a mad scramble for position and the race course is about 3 miles I believe. You will usually see a canoe or two flip in the chaos after the starting horn. The pace slows down as the amateurs become exhausted and struggle to finish line.
After the amateurs are finished dragging themselves over the finish line there are two more heats. A semi-pro and a pro. To be honest with you, these are boring. These guys just take off and are gone. No mishaps, no sinkings, no fun.
You want fun? The real fun is out in the Naples Bay on the boats. Boaters anchor, tie up with each other and form huge floating party barges during the canoe races. Water balloons are fired, bikini tops fly up and drinks flow. I’ve not yet had the pleasure of joining that part of the canoe race festivities, and kick myself every year for not renting a boat or talking Captain Jimmy Ray into bringing the Gypsy Soul down for the fun. Next year, next year.
The races end and crowds break up. The boaters head south to Key Waden island to beach their boats and continue their party. What did we do? We crashed a sexy pool party and sipped cold drinks by a tiki bar. Ah, Naples. If that doesn’t sound charming I don’t know what does.
To see more photos of the races you can see them here on the RSR Facebook page.