Who's that setting the pace for Team Dooley in the Great River Race Saturday on the Mississippi? That would be Lucia Watson, chef/owner of Lucia's restaurant in Uptown. She and 270 others paddled 27 canoes in the fundraiser for the Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures outdoor program for kids. The fundraiser, which raised $75,000, was a collaboration with Wilderness Inquiry, the National Park Service and the Mississippi River Fund. UWCA has brought more than 35,000 youth to urban waterways.
Canoers raced between Hidden Falls, on the Mississippi, and Harriet Island. Team Dooley came in 10th out of 27 canoes. Mortenson Construction came in first.
What's with the Team Dooley name? The canoe was sponsored by Beth Dooley (who often writes for the Taste section and who is now communciations director at Wilderness Inquiry).
Also seen in the canoes: Michael Keller, CEO of Pearson Candy Co. of St. Paul (which provided mini-Salted Nut Rolls for the participants), Chris Coleman, mayor of St. Paul, and Don Shelby, former anchor at WCCO. There may have been a food editor in the canoe, too.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak stopped by, to remind the participants that the Mississippi River is our Central Park (of NYC status), and, in fact, is a national park.