On Saturday, Aug. 10, at 9 a.m., The Crossing will kick off its 15th annual event. Online registrations for $30 per participant will be open until 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9. Registrations on the day of the event are $35 and will be taken from 7:30-9 a.m. on Saturday at the start. 

The event will include a special edition T-shirt for all participants as well as refreshments for finishers provided by the Lake Gaston Food Lion. 

This year will also provide special recognition trophies for the following: the organization with the most swimmers, the organization with the most vessels, the organization with the most bridge walkers, the top three judges favorite “wavers,” and the first five swimmers. Make sure to identify the group you are with when you register. Consider participating as a “waver.” 

Beyond the usual non-motorized water vessels, we’re encouraging you to use your imagination. The waver category was created to encourage small or large groups to cross together in the most creative ways possible. In the past, specially themed boats, barges and rafts have included: pirate ships, a “driving Miss Daisy” by boat, fun noodle collaborations, a Tom Sawyer-type raft, a horse-drawn cowboy fleet, a hydrofoil bike, and more. Remember, there are trophies to be awarded to the top three wavers this year.

The new Longbridge Volunteer Fire Department fire/rescue boat will be at The Crossing and will use its water cannon to start the event. The new boat will be available for inspection at the Watersview pier after the event, and “boot” donations will be taken.

O’Sail contributed $25,000 toward the purchase of this addition to the infrastructure supporting the Lake Gaston community.

Also new this year will be finish line flags, and a photo-op site with backdrop to capture selfless of participants. 

First Media Radio will be doing a live remote on site Saturday. 

Watersview will be open after the event for food and drinks and celebration. Stop at Watersview restaurant this week and order The Crossing specialty cocktail. A portion of each drink price is donated to O’Sail’s grant fund. 

It does take a “village” of volunteers to make the event happen safely and smoothly. Anyone interested in volunteering with registration activities should contact the organization at osail@live.com.

Key event sponsors include: AF Wake; Susan Bersch, CPA; Coast Guard Auxiliary; Food Lion; Halifax Electric Membership Corporation; Lake Gaston Baptist Church; Lake Gaston Lions; Lake Gaston Outfitters; Lake Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce; Longbridge VFD; Shoreline Specialists; Story Realty; The Pointe; Watersview Restaurant; and Williams Builders.

As always, The Crossing is a rain or shine event, and has been held in the rain before. The start will be delayed, if needed, to allow a thunderstorm to pass through. 

All participants should park at Lake Gaston Baptist Church on the north side of Eaton’s Ferry Bridge. Those with vessels and “wavers” will need to drop off their vessels at the start and then park. Buses will transport people from the parking area at the church to the start and from the finish to parking. Those with vessels will be able to pick them up from the finish area at Watersview.  

Like O’Sail on facebook @osailonlakegaston, go to osail.org for upcoming information and to register, subscribe to the O’Sail email newsletter “Skuttlebutt,” or email questions to osail@live.com.