New Bern’s Great Trent River Raft Race returns with more excitement

NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) – Hundreds of people here in the east spent their Saturday at the Great Trent River Raft Race, an event that began in the 1970s and only recently made its return to Eastern North Carolina.

In the hot summer heat, dozens paddled and pedaled fast and strong for the race to first place.

The Great Trent River Raft Race kicked off in New Bern with tons of activities including aerial performances, pirates, and of course, raft races!

“A little bit of something for everyone is what we try to do,” New Bern Area Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Roberts said.

Split up into three categories including pedal, paddle, and anything-that-floats, captains and their crews started on the Trent River and worked together to make it around the Neuse River and back.

The Crayon Express won second place in the anything-that-floats category. They have been competing for the past three years and said they love raft racing as it allows them to make memories with friends that they can remember no matter where they go.

“A lot of us are leaving this area this year and this may or may not be our last race so this was kind of a culmination of a few years of work put into our raft so we’re really proud of it,” the team of Crayon Express said.

Mary and Mathew Gills said each year, from the fun boats to the food and vendors, the event does not disappoint.

“It’s fascinating to come and see all the people gather and everybody is so nice,” Mary said.

This race was a staple to the community in the ‘70s and 80s but Roberts says it unfortunately faded away. Now, he said it is back like it never left.

“To see all these children enjoying being down here, that’s as much as anything that we do this thing for,” Roberts said.