Twenty-six competitors tossed their barrels off the Hell’s Gate suspension bridge into the Fraser River last year for the Rotary River Run Regatta.

Racing barrels on the Fraser River

The annual Hope Rotary River Run Regatta has 34 entries this year

Record times are expected this weekend in the annual Rotary River Run Regatta.

Event organizer Hank DeMeulder said high water levels in the Fraser River will likely result in a fast race this year, with winners coming in under three hours.  The competition will see 34 barrels sponsored and decorated by local businesses travel between Hell’s Gate and Yale.

“It draws a lot of people,” said DeMeulder. “It is fun to do it and it supports the Rotary Club.”

In addition to raising funds for Rotary scholarships and youth programs, the club donates money to Yale Historical Society and Hope Search and Rescue for their assistance with the event.

The winning barrel will receive $600, second place $400 and third place $200.

New this year to the regatta weekend is a buffet dinner at Kan Yon Resturarnt on Thursday night for barrel race participants. All competing barrels will weigh-in at C.E. Barry School on Saturday at noon, where the public can vote for the best decorated, crowd pleaser, and the most and least likely to succeed in the competition.

The barrel launch starts at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday at Hell’s Gate Airtram, followed by an afternoon barbecue and awards ceremony at Yale Historic Site at 3:30 p.m.