Wood drift boats on parade April 24

Several hundred guests caught a glimpse of McKenzie River history at Eagle Rock Lodge near Vida on Saturday, April 24 – the opening day of fishing season.

Riverboats old and new, all made of wood in the basic McKenzie River style made famous around the world, paraded downstream to the lodge between 10:30 and 11 in the morning. The boats remained on the lawn and shoreline for viewing until 5 in the afternoon.

Free and open to everyone, the fifth-annual 2010 McKenzie River Wooden Boat Festival included barbecue/beer for guests to buy lunch. Proceeds from concession sales support programs by the McKenzie River Guides Association.

More than 50 boats were displayed at the festival – most in different makes, but all capturing the history, form and function of the wooden drift boat designed for the McKenzie River’s white water.

“It’s all about wooden boats and the people who enjoy them,” sums up Randy Dersham, who organizes the festival as a river guide and owner of Eagle Rock Lodge.

At least one boat will be more than 50 years old; some others, brand new.

Dersham says between 200-300 people attended the festival. “They just come and go,” he says. “They eat lunch, stay for a while, do a lot of talking.”

The Eagle Rock Lodge is at 49198 McKenzie Highway, or about 8 miles east of Vida. For information on the festival, see Eaglerocklodge.com or e-mail Dersham at randy.dersham@gmail.com.

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