What is Paddle to the Symphony?

Paddle to the Symphony is a Celebration of Southeast Michigan outdoor groups and a Reunion for Hostelling International members – the founders of the event. This annual tradition is open to HI-USA members (past, present & future), SOLAR members and any group, club or individual. Anyone and everyone is welcome.

Kent Lake at Kensington Metropark welcomes Paddle to the Symphony every year - photo by Michael Dwyer

For over 20 years, Kensington Metropark in Milford, MI has been the home to Paddle to the Symphony. Once again, the event returns to the park and to Kent Lake for an evening of music and paddling. The Michigan Philharmonic performs a free concert at 7:30 p.m. on Maple Beach. However, Paddle to the Symphony goers will meet on the other side of the lake on the shoreline of North Martindale Beach – hence the term “paddle to the symphony.”

This year’s Paddle to the Symphony has been postponed. Even then, we risk it not happening this year – please check back for updates. SOLAR is collaborating with Heavner Canoe and several Meetup Groups to provide a fun evening on the water while enjoying the sounds of the Michigan Philharmonic. This year’s theme TBA.

Getting There and Meeting Up

Meet at Kensington Metro Park in Milford, Michigan at the shoreline near the North Martindale Picnic Shelter.

Do NOT follow the signs to the concert, as we are positioned across the lake. Instead, follow the signs to “Martindale Beach,” park and walk to north Shelter C (formally shelter S). Looking at the water from parking lot, the shelter is to the right and near the shore. Anyone going on the water should arrive by 7:00 p.m.

Water and soft drinks will be available for everyone with any option you select. All canoes and kayaks MUST have at least one adult per watercraft. If you bring your canoe or kayak, Heavner Canoe will transport the boat from the parking lot to the shoreline. Vehicles are NOT allowed to drive to the shoreline – park officers will enforce this rule – you may of course cart your boat by hand or use the official boat launch area.

While the concert is free, our paddle event has a fee and attendees must sign-up to participate in the paddle. Please use the online registration until July 12. Or, use the mail-in form below to register by July 6 (postmarked).

2019 Paddle Options:

2020 Registration Options TBA

Purchase securely with Pay Pal. Quantities may be changed once re-directed. A small service fee (labeled as shipping) will be applied to each order ($2.00 for Paddle options and $1.00 for Bring Your Own options).

Membership in HI (Hostelling International) and SOLAR (School of Outdoor Leadership and Recreation) will be confirmed. Please select the correct option above. No refunds after purchase, however registrations are transferable, thank you.

What to Expect?

Anyone going on the water should arrive by 7:00 p.m.

Please Note: With any option you choose, you will still be responsible for the park vehicle entrance fee of $10.00 ($15.00 after 5:00 p.m.) so carpool if you can.

Canoes and Kayaks return to North Martindale Beach as the sun sets and music fades - photo by Michael DwyerTimeline of Evening:

6:00 p.m. Welcome Reception
6:30 p.m. Canoe Launch
7:30 p.m. Concert Starts
9:00 p.m. Start to Paddle Back
9:30 p.m. Canoes Return
10:00 p.m. Thank you and Goodnight

What to bring:

Sunscreen and/or Hat
Change of clothes if you choose to canoe (just in case)
Lawn chairs

Google Map of Shelter C

Map to Kensington Metropark

This event is being organized by Michael Dwyer. Michael is the legacy president for the Michigan Council of Hostelling International, an HI lifetime member, and a SOLAR Lifetime Member. The Paddle to the Symphony event was an HI Michigan activity and is now supported by members of many groups and clubs of Southeast Michigan.

The event is Rain or Shine. The DNR has the final say regarding watercraft going on the water. If weather conditions restrict canoeing then we will shuttle attendees to the concert and back. Heavner Canoe will offer vouchers to return to canoe if this happens. Please note this has only happened once in all the years of the event. Sorry, no refunds.