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Hundreds participate in 'Ain't Louie Festival'

11:56 PM, Mar 10, 2013   |    comments
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Nearly 300 hundred canoers and kayakers are in Loudon County taking a cold, wet plunge down giant waterfalls as part of the "Ain't Louie Festival."

Canoer Michael "Louie" Lewis said the festival started about 10 years ago when some kayakers claimed canoers didn't exist anymore. He said, "As you can clearly see, there's quite a few of us out here still doing this."  Lewis also added, "Anything a kayak can do, a canoe can do. Only we can do it in style." 

Sunday, the daredevils were in Tellico going down a 13-foot waterfall as part of their 10-day adventure.

Canoer Randy Bigbee said, "I've just always been fascinated with boats and water so it fits really well with me. I love it."

Locals businesses are also loving the canoers and kayakers, as they're getting a boost from the risk-takers' fall.

Ronald Lane with the Kings Inn Motel said, "We're running right now about 65 - 75 percent full. We love them. We wish they would have brought bigger crowds. Bring all of them down from Canada. We'll take care of them."

Tammy Mounsey with the restaurant Calhoun's said, "Right now, having the canoers in. You know, it's something we expect every year and we look forward to having them every year."

The group plans to keep with the annual "Ain't Louie Festival".

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