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Photo courtesy of Gil'sRaffle prizes are handed out at last year's High Water Party.

Fundraiser today benefits wild rivers

Need an excuse to drink beer? How about buying beer to support conservation of local rivers, all the while being entered into a river-friendly raffle? Gil’s in Ashland is throwing its second-annual “High Water Party” today, May 16, starting at 4 p.m.

The event, sponsored by Ninkasi Brewing, is a “pint for a cause” event, according to bartender and organizer Steve Simpson. For every pint of Ninkasi beer sold, the company donates $1 to the cause. Funds raised at the event will be donated to nonprofits American Whitewater and Rogue Riverkeeper.

“The High Water Party is an event aimed at raising money to help maintain the health of our local water ways, promoting white water advocacy including rafting and kayaking and raising awareness about how important it is to take care of our rivers,” Simpson said.

According to Simpson, an entry into the general raffle is included with every beer purchase. Prizes in the general raffle include a paddle from Sawyer Paddles and Oars, two passes for the Upper Klamath rafting trip with Indigo Creek Outfitters, a half-day fishing trip on the Rogue River with Grizzly Peak Fly Fishing and a massage session by Therapeutics in Motion.

“(There’s) a plethora of other prizes from Ninkasi, Mountain Provisions, Flow Factory, Eye Happy, Lotus Cycles and of course Gil’s,” Simpson said.

They’ll also be selling raffle tickets at $5 each for a Jackson hard-shell recreational kayak which will be announced at 7 p.m. The winner must be present to receive it. All kayak raffle funds go straight to the nonprofits.

“We have the Justin Gordon Band playing first and they’re going to start right after the party does and then our friend Groove Smuggler is going to close with a DJ performance,” Simpson said.

Other activities include painting by Miles Frode and photo contests.

The party is planned to last until 9 p.m. Ruby’s next door will be open until then as well, serving their famous burritos.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and the Rogue was one of the original eight rivers under that protection, Simpson said.

“It’s a great cause to raise money for something that everyone can enjoy for generations to come,” Simpson said. “I also want to raise awareness of the activities on and near the river that people can enjoy.”

— Contact Caitlin Fowlkes at Caitlin.fowlkes@gmail.com.

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