For the past few years, organizers Chad Collier, Justin Lucas and the rest of their all-volunteer crew have been adding new features to the Old Hickory Fun Run, Bar Crawl and Raft-Up, set this year for July 26-27 in the suburbs of Nashville. Friday night’s private party at a single venue in downtown Music City, for example, gave way to a five-stop pub crawl through which participants can earn extra poker hands. In a move to keep fundraising local, they opted out of a national veterans’ charity in favor of Operation Stand-Down Tennessee, which keeps money raised for veterans in the Volunteer State going to veterans in the Volunteer State. The list goes on and on.
Though there is one big change on tap for the Old Hickory event for 2019, its healthy raft-ups will return. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Meanwhile, they’ve kept all of most popular events such as relatively short fun/lunch runs followed by relatively large raft-ups on Old Hickory Lake. After Saturday’s signature raft-up, participants typically head back to the Blue Turtle Bay Marina host venue and Sam’s Sports Grill for the awards dinner, auction and more.
But while the group will still head back to Blue Turtle Marina on Saturday evening, the organizers are taking the dinner-and-awards portion of the program to the street, so to speak.
According to Lucas, they’ll be setting up a massive air-conditioned tent for the evening celebration. Access to the fully catered affair—complete with multiple adult beverage stations—will be limited to event participants. The outdoor tent also will host the card draws, hand-playing and auction to benefit Operation Stand-Down Tennessee. (Last year, the event raised $52,000 for the charity.)
Approximately 60 boats have registered so far for the event, which is produced by the Tennessee Powerboat Club. Registration will remain open through Saturday morning before the fun run.
“It’s going to be really, really nice,” said Lucas. “The dinner is going to be catered and, of course, we’ll have the auction and live entertainment. And when all that’s done, people will go wherever they want.
Lucas paused, then chuckled. “But most everyone heads back to downtown Nashville,” he said. “That’s a big part of the reason they come here.”