Fox Valley Park District announces changes to Mid-America canoe race

The 2024 Mid-American Canoe & Kayak Race will take place Saturday, June 1, and registration ends 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 29.

The annual Mid-American Canoe & Kayak Race is set for Saturday, June 1, but a recently discovered obstacle in the Fox River has caused race officials at the Fox Valley Park District to relocate one of its launch points.

Because of construction on the Island Park pedestrian and railroad bridge that spans the Fox River in Geneva, Mid-Am officials have moved the launch location of the long course from Mt. St. Mary’s Park in St. Charles to the Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva, 1925 S. Batavia Ave.

The boat launch area is on the west side of the river. A detailed map of the site is at

Lynn Piotrowski, facility manager at the FVPD’s Prisco Community Center and 2024 Mid-Am race coordinator, said seeing concerns via social media caused the park district’s operations team to visit the construction site, deeming it a dangerous area, according to a news release from the park district.

The modified long course now runs 7.1 miles, joining the original six-mile option from the Batavia VFW, 645 S. River St. (Route 25).

Fox Valley Park District moved the Mid-Am's launch location in St. Charles to Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva to prevent safety hazards caused by construction on the Island Park pedestrian and railroad bridge.

Paddlers who previously registered at the St. Charles launch now will start in Geneva.

Registration fees and start times remain the same and paddlers who already have registered in St. Charles will be notified, Piotrowski said in the release.

No changes have been made to the Batavia course.

Heats begin at 9 a.m. in Geneva and 10:30 a.m. in Batavia. Divisions for paddlers who require canoe or kayak rental are included in registration. The registration deadline is 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 29.

The finish line for both courses is staged just beyond the Illinois Avenue bridge in Aurora and a post-race lunch celebration will be at adjacent McCullough Park. A wristband for lunch is included in the registration fee.

Reuland’s Food Service will be on-site preparing a grilled lunch menu featuring several items for purchase, according to the release.

Noncompetitors of the race can buy a $25 ticket that includes lunch in the park and a race T-shirt, according to the release.

“Spouses and kids who aren’t in the race bring blankets and lawn chairs to relax in the park and enjoy lunch with the participants they came to cheer on,” Piotrowski said in the release. “We’ll also have picnic tables set up and there are plenty of majestic trees in the park for shade if we get a warm, sunny day.”

Race officials strongly encourage participants with their own canoes or kayaks to unload boats at their respective launches, park at Prisco Center and take one of two shuttles back to their launch site 90 minutes before their heat. Paddlers who rent boats also should park at Prisco. There is no shuttle service after the race.

Participants can be of any experience level and they must adhere to basic safety measures, Piotrowski said in the release.

Members of the park district’s operations team will be on hand and in the river to assist recreation division paddlers with portages, of which there will be two from Geneva and one from Batavia, according to the release.

“We’ll have staff to help you in and out of the river and around the dams,” Piotrowski said.

The 2024 Mid-Am, which began in 1961, is sponsored by Konen Insurance, Fabulous Fox! Water Trail, Orthodontic Experts and Artlip and Sons, Inc.

For more information or to register, visit