In the days before freeways, people used the rivers for rapid transit. The Race for the Rivers Festival
celebrates rivers and their historic role in our society with long- and middle-distance paddle races today at 9 a.m. You can canoe or kayak from Washington to St. Charles (40 miles), or from Weldon Spring to St. Charles (20 miles). If you're more of a land-based celebrant, you can party at the race's finish from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Frontier Park (500 South Riverside Drive, St. Charles; 636-498-0772 or www.racefortherivers.org
). The festival offers live music from Old Salt Union LLC and Kevin Renick and Ted Moniak, a Leinenkugel beer tent and the Bombay Food Junkies food truck, among others. You can also try your hand at paddling a Voyager-class canoe. Named after the hearty French Canadian frontiersman who relied on them, voyageur
(French for "to travel") vessels were to other types of canoes what semi trucks are to pickups. These were burly boats; they meant business, and they facilitated it. In fact voyageurs were so effective and durable, Lewis and Clark used them on their epic journey to explore and chart the vast American interior. Admission to the non-race portion of the festival is free.
Sat., Aug. 23, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 2014