My friend Jim was telling me the other day about this very unique canoe parade that happens every year in Medford Lakes NJ. They have been creating these huge canoe floats since the 1940s. Jim also told me about the log cabin rules in Medford Lakes. All the buildings and houses are log cabins. Even if they tear down an old house they rebuild it as a log cabin... Read More

I want this log cabin please.... and I'll happily move to Jersey!


Medrock Lakes Float


These are pictures of 'Mardi Gras' night in Medford Lakes, the night before Canoe Carnival. Houses on Lower Aetna Lake light and decorate for the numerous people that canoe around at night getting previews of the floats participating in tomorrow's Canoe Carnival. A live rock band also travels the lake for several hours.

The giant fish with rod and reel under construction is by the float group "On The Rocks". It will set sail in less than 24 hours. The completed float "Boogie Shoes" is by the group "Scrub Pines" The float groups usually have 20 -50 members. Most floats have lighting, music, and animatronic and/or live characters. They must be built on a platform supported only by two 17 foot canoes, which must then be propelled entirely around the lake by a maximum of two paddlers.

This year is the Carnival's 80th Anniversary. The theme is 'Around The World'. Canoe Carnival was originally held on the night of the first full moon in August. Now it is held on the first Saturday in August. At its peak of popularity it's estimated that 25,000 people watched. Current crowds number around 5 - 8,000. In the past up to 40 floats participated. This year 18 are entered. .

There have been several accidents and sinkings over the years, but no serious injuries. One carnival years ago was hit by a fierce thunderstorm, resulting in 22 floats sinking. Two years ago there was a severe storm the night before the Carnival. Most floats were damaged and several sank. Prizes are awarded in various categories. The judges' only qualifications are that they live outside Medford Lakes and have never seen a Canoe Carnival before.

These photos are from Saturday night. The floats shown are Yellow Submarine, Boogie Shoes, A Night in Venice, Flintstones and Reeling in the Years.
The shots of the women getting off of Boogie Shoes gives a good idea of the size of the float. Reeling in the Years is one of the floats that crashed and couldn't make it around the lake. There are a couple of damage shots and you can see how big it is from the people standing in front. It is supported only by two 17 foot canoes.

Jim B

One of the highlights of the Medford Lakes experience is the annual Canoe Carnival held on the first Saturday in August. Everyone looks forward to this time where the community comes together to celebrate the uniqueness of Medford Lakes and enjoy the fellowship of family and friends in a Mardi Gras type of atmosphere, culminating in a parade of canoe floats on the water.

There are a lot of preparations and planning leading up to this event, including the campaigning and voting on the King and Queen of the Canoe Carnival and the Court. They will be appearing on one of the procession of floats that will embark from their docks at dark, when the signal to begin is given. Kids and people of all ages are always fascinated by the creativity and ingenuity that goes into the making of the floats.

Medford Lakes NJ USA Canoe Carnival 2010 Photos

Thanks JB!! XXOOK

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