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'Disastrous, hilarious, and so much fun' cardboard kayak races to return to Indian Creek Festival

The festival features live music, competitions, fundraisers and over 50 vendors.
Credit: Idaho Press
Labrador retriever Bayley and her bunny friend, Hazel, sit on the law of Caldwell Luxe Reel Theatre on Thursday after the Indian Creek Festival's dog parade.

CALDWELL, Idaho — Caldwell kicked off its 17th annual Indian Creek Festival downtown with a dog parade and a showing of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” at the Indian Creek Plaza.

The event is one of 277 events Destination Caldwell will host this year, according to Keri Smith-Sigman, director of the organization. The festival, which is meant to celebrate the portion of Indian Creek that runs through downtown Caldwell, will run through 2 p.m. Saturday with the annual cardboard kayak race.

Krista Allcott, event manager for Destination Caldwell, said the festival is centered around Indian Creek, and has grown every year as more of the creek gets exposed. The festival features live music, competitions, fundraisers and over 50 vendors.

MORE EVENTS: 17th Annual Indian Creek Festival showcases Downtown Caldwell

Some festival favorites are the duck race, which takes place at 1 p.m. Saturday and is the festival’s longest-standing event, and the cardboard kayak race, which Allcott said is probably the most anticipated event.

“It’s disastrous, and hilarious, and so much fun,” she said.

Thirty-five teams signed up for the kayak race this year — the most the festival has ever had, Allcott said.

The festival continues to grow, with over 4,000 people expected this year, she said.

Indian Creek Plaza’s opening in the summer of 2018 helped the festival draw more attendees, according to Caldwell Economic Development Director Steve Fultz.

RELATED: Indian Creek Plaza in Caldwell celebrates first anniversary

Over its first year, the plaza drew more than 137,000 people to downtown Caldwell, exceeding the expectations of local officials.

Fultz attended his first Indian Creek Festival about 14 years ago, and said though the event was well-attended then, it only drew a few hundred guests. Allcott said last year, the first year of the festival after the plaza opened, roughly 3,000 people attended.

Fultz said the Indian Creek Festival has a significant economic impact for Caldwell because it draws residents from across the Treasure Valley. Tourism, he said, is one of the purist forms of economic development, as visitors don’t add as much wear on the city’s infrastructure. The festival, therefore, is a big economic generator for Caldwell because of how highly anticipated it is.

“They circle it over their calendars every year,” he said.

This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press, read more on IdahoPress.com.

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