Paddle, yoga, music fest to add fishing event

Community Editor
Photo by Jason DeMoe
More than 70 competitors took part in the 2016 paddleboard race at the Northern Lights Yoga, Paddle, and Music Festival. That number is expected to grow for the 2017 event on Aug. 12.

Recently, nearly a year after completing a Guinness world-record-breaking paddleboard yoga class featuring 298 participants at the Northern Lights Paddle, Yoga and Music Fest, the city of Forest Lake received official word from Guinness that the feat had been deemed “officially amazing” and would be included in the newest edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. Although a Guinness-worthy feat isn’t in the cards for this year’s Aug. 12 event, organizers have some exciting additions planned.

“Probably the newest thing people can look forward to is that we are now adding a fishing contest to the festival,” organizer Randy Johnson said. “People can come down and fish from either a stand-up paddleboard or a kayak, and the winners will get a nice cash prize. Paddleboards will be available for rent for $10 if someone wants to enter the contest but doesn’t own one.”

The fishing contest part of the Yoga, Paddle and Music Fest was suggested by former Forest Lake Mayor Stev Stegner. Johnson credits Stegner with giving that extra push needed every year to keep the event going.

“It is a lot of work in the organizing and getting sponsors and making sure all the moving parts come together, and there are times when I think maybe we should take a year off or maybe not even do the event,” Johnson said. “Every time I start thinking that way, Stev is around to convince me otherwise with suggestions of what we can add or how we can make the event better. I am grateful for that.”

One more addition to the 2017 fest is an opportunity for groups of up to 10 to challenge each other to a race on a monster paddleboard.

“We will have two 10-person boards available, and we are encouraging groups to come challenge each other to a race,” Johnson said. “It can be just for fun, or they can make it ultra-competitive, but the ultimate goal is to get people out on the water enjoying and learning about paddleboarding.”

The big draw for paddleboard enthusiasts is the race that begins at 9:30 a.m. with registration at 7 a.m. Touted as one of the largest paddleboard race events in the Midwest, the Yoga, Paddle and Music Fest race draws some of the best boarders in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

“Although there will be some serious competitors in the 10K event, really anyone of any skill level can join in the race,” Johnson said. “We also feature a 5K race for beginners and also a short kids course. Even if you have never been on a board before, you can come out to the festival and have a chance to try one out.”

As far as the other aspects of the event go, there will be paddleboard yoga classes ongoing throughout the day, the YMCA will provide land balance activities, a beer tent will feature beverages from Lakes and Legends Brewery, Vanelli’s by the Lake will be serving food, and live music will be provided by Brazilian jazz band Xibaba.

Yoga classes, music and on-site race registration for the Aug. 12 festival will begin at 7 a.m. with the racers on the water at 9:30 a.m. The fishing contest will take place from 7 a.m. to noon. Registration for the race or the fishing contest can be found online at