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Today I’d like to celebrate the Dinker. Yep. That’s right. the BenderDinker.

If you don’t already know, the BenderDinker is one of the most unique local foods events ever. (And believe me, I can say that because I’ve been to a bunch!) Now in its third year, it is the only real fundraiser we do. Augusta Locally Grown is one of three nonprofit beneficiaries: the Riverkeepers and Camp Sweet Life are the others.

Yes, there’s the leisurely three hour paddle around Germain Island, along Betty’s Branch and the beautiful Savannah River. And yes, there are the fantastic acoustic musicians playing for you as you float. And yes, there’s kids activities and maybe a little river-run poker going on. Always there’s a good deal of gettin’ wet.

But for me, and for Augusta Locally Grown, it’s about the local event food grown by local farmers.

This year, the BenderDinker committee (led by the fearless Kristina Williams) is stepping it all up big time. Lunch will be provided ON THE WATER from “food boats.” (Think food trucks, but way better.) Chef Dave McCluskey of “Local Pop” has graciously volunteered to oversee the making of this meal for hundreds of paddlers. Fireside Outdoor Kitchens & Grills of Augusta is providing some amazing cooking equipment to use on-board. Pontoons are loaned to us from our fantastic sponsors at Haynes Marine.

We’ll talk about all the details of the food more later. But for now, just sign up! Visit

“Paddle Out and Eat!”