GREAT FALLS - With the Fall semester well underway, students and staff from the University of Providence are coming together with the Great Falls community through a unique competition that both can enjoy: boat racing.

As part of U.P.’s second annual UP Town goes Downtown event, over 40 students from the school will ride and push hand-crafted boats or carts downtown on Central Avenue on Friday afternoon.

Teams representing several student clubs on campus will take turns racing two boats at a time, literally pushing to get the fastest time possible with their own unique creations. Dubbed "Argo Armada," inspiration for the U.P. activity came from the concept for "coffin races" that take place in Colorado every October.

Considering the distance between downtown and the U.P. campus, it can be difficult for some students to learn about or get involved with the city, especially if they don't have their own car.  The boat race offers to change that with an opportunity for students, local businesses and people to connect.

"We want the community members to know that we're here, and that we're here to also support their business, their economy and hopefully get more students to come here as well," said Kelsey Anderson, U.P.’s student activities coordinator.  

"I'm really excited for it as a chance for the forensic science club to be involved on campus,” said Tristen Taylor, the club’s president. “We've kind of been a little sheltered in the past, so it's been a really good opportunity to get out there and show people what we're doing and what we're about."

There will be some road closures downtown on Friday, Sept. 13 covering the 300 to 400 blocks of Central Avenue from 2:30 to 8:00 pm to accommodate the race.

Check in for the race begins at 5:00 pm, and the race itself starts at 5:30 pm.

Additionally, UP Town goes Downtown will also feature a scavenger hunt, live music from the UpRoots, face painting and food.

If you’d like to learn more, you can visit the event’s official Facebook page.


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