Three Rivers Festival cancels raft race because of Fort Wayne riverfront construction

People packed the St. Marys River with an array of rafts for 2016's Three Rivers Festival Raft Race. ( file photo)

There’s no standing in the way of progress – or rafting for that matter.

The Three Rivers Festival board announced Tuesday that the raft race will not be held this year because of the riverfront construction going on along the St. Marys River.

Jack Hammer, executive director of the Three Rivers Festival, said in a news release, “The riverfront improvements, once complete, will create a more engaging event for both spectators and participants. Although we would love to see this staple event as a part of the 50th Three Rivers Festival, we are even more excited about how the event will grow with the completion of the riverfront development.”

The raft race has been held three times since its return in 2013. Heavy rains and/or rising water and faster currents canceled the event in 2017 and 2015. A huge draw for more than 30 years with folks lining the riverbanks to see somewhat river-worthy homemade rafts powered by people who didn’t mind getting dunked, it was discontinued in 1998 because of the rising cost of liability insurance.

The festival is looking for 700 volunteers for the golden anniversary festival. Volunteers can sign up at the festival’s website,, or by visiting and search for Three Rivers Festival. For more information, visit TRF website or contact the festival office at 260-426-5556.

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