Tour du Teche starts this weekend

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Tour du Teche IV a 135-mile, three-day race for kayaks and canoes down Bayou Teche, will take place the first weekend in October.

The race will take place from Oct. 4-6 with pre-race events at Port Barre, on Oct. 3.

St. Martinville, finish line for Day 1, is keeping the party going with La Grande Boucherie des Cajuns on Saturday. In Franklin, finish for Day 2, paddlers and their support crews will be able to enjoy the annual Harvest Moon Festival. Berwick also puts on a street fair at the final finish line Sunday.

Tour du Teche attracts paddlers from all over the country and beyond, as well as a growing number from Louisiana. To accommodate beginning or recreational paddlers, there's the Voyager Division of Tour du Teche and five one-day races. Tour du Teche starts at Port Barre on Friday with a finish 49 miles later in St. Martinville. Saturday's 59-mile race starts in St. Martinville and ends in Franklin.

The toughest part of the race is only 27 miles, but, by Sunday, strength and resolve are sapped and the bayou is wide and windswept here, subject to contrary tides from the nearby Gulf of Mexico.

The race ends on the Atchafalaya River at Berwick.

The one-day races are the Crawfish, 34 miles from Port Barre to Breaux Bridge, and the Acadian, 49 miles from Port Barre to St. Martinville, on Friday. Saturday: the Hot Sauce, 25 miles from St. Martinville to New Iberia, and the Sugar, 59 miles from St. Martinville to Franklin. And on Sunday, the Oil & Gas is 27 miles from Franklin to Berwick.

Voyageurs and short races start at 7 a.m. The Racing Division, which pays winners in cash prizes, starts at 9 a.m. each day. Entry fees per paddler are $125 for Racers, $80 for Voyageurs and $60 for one-day races. The Voyageur Division, including the one-day racers, is for Tour du Teche cypress paddle trophies.

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