CLAYTON, N.Y. (WWTI) — Engines will be roaring up and down the St. Lawrence River this weekend as the 1000 Islands Charity Poker Run returns to the region.
Boats are coming to the event from across the U.S. and Canada. One includes the Alexandria Bay-based Aquamania, a vessel outfitted with helicopter engines.
“So we’re super excited,” Aquamania Owner Rick Merola said. “Really this charity event for the kids. We live for it.”
Although all boats are made for speed, this will be no ordinary boat ride. Funds raised by drivers, their crews and race teams will be donated to Make-A-Wish of Central New York, which will all remain local in the North Country.
According to Make-A-Wish of Central New York President and CEO Diane Kupperman, this will circle back to supporting children in the North Country.
“We a pipeline of 190 medically eligible children waiting for their wishes and 25 of those are for kids right here in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties,” Kupperman explained. “So the money that is raised here is staying here and will help us say yes faster to the kids who have been waiting.”
Children who have been previously supported by Make-A-Wish, or “Wish Kids,” were given special boat rides Friday morning as they sped up and down the River with the race teams.
“I think their smiles were as big as the smiles on the kid’s faces,” Kupperman shared. “It’s great because [the boat drivers] get to see exactly why they’re here.”
Merola added, “It’s bigger than the boat ride and its bigger than us, it’s all about the event.”
The 1000 Islands Charity Poker Run Race will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 15, leaving from the Clayton docks. A full schedule of events can be found on the Poker Run’s website.