Some participants in past Penn Cove Water Festival Canoe Races have included

  • Chehalis, BC
  • Chilliwack, BC
  • Lummi Tribe
  • Makah Tribe
  • Nooksak Tribe
  • Samish
  • Samish Tribe
  • Skawh Band (BC)
  • Skowkale Band of Sto:lo First Nation
  • Skowkale First Nation, Chahalis, BC
  • Swinomish Tribe
  • Tsleil-Waututh Nation in North Vancouver, BC.

Here are photos of the 2015 Penn Cove Water Festival canoe races.

2017 Canoe Races and Sponsors

At the BOAT LAUNCH on 9th Street:

11:45 – Race Captains Meeting

PCWF President Vicky Reyes, Mayor Molly Hughes & Rosie James

Canoe Races take place during the rest of the afternoon.

NOTE: If you would like to Sponsor a Race, please contact us at

Thank you all for participating and congratulations to the winners.

1) Single Woman Race - Jerry Saia (Coupeville Inn)

2) Single Man Race - John Weber (Nahma Investments)

3) Mixed Doubles Race - Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship – In honor of Gary Piazzon

4) 6 Junior Buckskin Race - Orca Network & the Langley Whale Center - In Honor of "J2/Granny”

5) 6 Buckskin Race - Susan Berta & Howard Garrett

6) 6 Woman Race - Molly McPhearson

7) 6 Man race - Harold Anderson & Terry Bible

8) 11 Jr. Buckskin Race - Coupeville Lions Club

9) 11 Buckskin Race - Vern & Martha Olsen and Vicky & Ricardo Reyes

10) 11 Woman Race - Penn Cove Shellfish

11) 11 Man race - Ervin Knezek & David Bieniek

Family Canoe - The Crow’s Roost
Family Canoes can be seen at the boat launch or out on Penn Cove as they paddle and perform their protocol during the day. They may also come to the Wharf at Front Street and offer rides in their Canoes.

Travel Money for the first 10 Eleven Man Canoes to arrive supported by: Sue & Pat Waters, bayleaf, Coupe’s Last Stand, Jenne Farm, Jan Picard, Penn Cove Water Festival Association, Michael Ferri, Jim Sherman, Gary Piazzon, and The Crow’s Roost.

Finish The Race!

In a quandary about what to do this Saturday? You're in luck! Head down to Coupeville's historic Front Street and the Boat Launch. It's the twenty-fourth annual Penn Cove Water Festival! Festivities kick off at 11:00 AM at the main stage, near the library.

A well-loved event at the festival - started in the 1930's - is the tradition of Native American canoe racing on the Coupeville waterfront. The canoes range in size from the single-person canoe up to a size built for eleven women or men. With close to 300 "pullers" anticipated for this year's race, you can be confident that the canoe teams are fully prepared and commmitted - chop on the water or not, head-wind or not!

Who is racing? Kevin Roberts of the Nooksack Tribe in Whatcom County has pulled since he was a teen. Now his grandchildren race. He says he feels the tradition in coming to Coupeville. Kevin first saw a canoe at age 3, and began racing at age 16 with his brothers, sisters and dad.

The Nooksack tribe, based in Deming, WA, begins their preparation in early spring. The pullers commit to a strict diet and rigorous exercise. Elders believe this teaches youth how to become a good person and a good sport. Kevin remembers his elders talking about the races in Coupeville. Now, it's his generation telling the stories of Penn Cove and Coupeville.

Look for Andrea Williams of the River Spirit Canoe Club. The Club is based in Chilliwack, B.C. and uses the Fraser River for training. Crossing the border to race in Penn Cove is not too far to come.

Andrea has followed the racing since she was a child. "It is a great feeling to be out on the water. I love being on the canoe. The biggest part of our canoe club is the children. Seeing their excitement and energy is worth all of the effort it takes to get everyone to the race each weekend. It is with team effort that we make it through each year. "Team Work!!"

Andreas' father, the late Dean Williams, was and is an inspiration to the club. "We all miss him...but he taught us well; he showed us how to be leaders. He instilled in us so many teachings that we carry on today. He lives on through each of us."