Community Gems: Boatnik


Every year, the residents of Josephine and Jackson Counties look forward to one of Grants Pass’s most famous community events: Boatnik. 2019 marks the sixtieth year of this famous Memorial Day Weekend event, and with no entrance admission, thousands of locals and visitors from across the country will migrate to the city of Grant Pass. On May 23, through May 27, 2019, the Grants Pass Active Club is heading up a weekend of fun activities for all ages, including the Davis Shows Carnival, the Boatnik Brewfest, the Tom Rice Memorial Whitewater Hydroplane race, the Golf shoot-out tournament, the Boatnik Parade on May 25, and of course, the riverside service honoring veterans on Memorial Day, May 27.

The weekend’s schedule of events begins with the opening of the carnival. On Thursday only, rides are $2 each (all-access wristbands are available for $28 online or $33 at the gate). Friday kicks off the Jim Sigel Chevy Drive-It-Home Golf shoot-out, as well as Riverside Park Bingo and the Dokken Concert at 7 pm. If you’re still around at dusk, Hellgate Jetboat Excursions sponsors a firework show that can’t be missed. The fun continues on Saturday with the Boatnik parade and the 5K Freedom Run. With Drag Boat and Sprint Boat exhibitions, the river is packed with excitement—and spectators from “all over,” says Susan Seereiter, Business Advocate for Grants Pass. Sunday offers more boating exhibitions, and continues the Brewfest, before offering fireworks again that evening. The weekend culminates on Monday—Memorial Day—with the Memorial Day service and a high-speed Hydroplane Race finishing at Riverside Park where ice cream sundaes will be served in abundance. In case you still aren’t convinced, be aware that all funds raised during Boatnik go right back to the community,  supporting local children and youth programs.

At noon on May 27, Memorial Day, Boatnik gives the community an opportunity to honor everyone who has served or died to preserve our freedom in the United States. With a flyover, a wreath-laying on the river, a 21-gun salute, and a bagpipe playing, the flag is hung from the bridge for a few moments of solemn reflection and remembrance. As the Memorial Day Service notice proclaims: “There is constant excitement and happenings during Boatnik in Riverside Park throughout the weekend, but for the few minutes of the ceremony…the park goes quiet as we honor Memorial Day and all that it stands for.”

Additional Sources:

Grants Pass Active Club. (2019). Boatnik. Website:

Thanks to the newest addition to our SOREDI team, our SOU intern, Abigail Skelton, we will continue to feature some of the popular attractions located in our Southern Oregon communities. We consider each one of our towns and cities to be “jewels in the crown” that makes up Southern Oregon. If you have a story idea sparked by an inspiring local attraction, please e-mail our Communications Manager, Codi Spodnik and maybe Abigail will be giving you a call to follow up.  If you are a SOREDI Member and you have some great news, please e-mail it to Codi so we can share it in our newsletter



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