Pe Ell River Run makes annual splash


Kayakers, canoers and rafters returned to the river for the 46th annual Pe Ell River Run on Saturday.

Starting at Queen Avenue in Pe Ell, river runners took their time down the Chehalis River while enjoying the sunny day.

Every year on the second weekend of April, Shawnell Pilz and Luke Harris anticipate dozens of people on their riverfront property to start the annual river run. Pilz enjoys the community the run brings together.

“Every type of person gets to come together, and they all have fun,” Pilz said. “It’s fun to watch all of the hype leading up to it and on the actual day.”

Pilz estimated about 90 people showed up to this year’s river run.

The informal event started in 1978, with one of its founders, Jim Merrill, still on the river at the event this year. Merrill can be seen floating down the river with a shirt that reads “King of the River.”

This year included balloon artist BaLunatic, also known as Ken Trombley, who made participants balloon crowns to sport down the river.

Participants finished at Rainbow Falls, with some pulling out before the falls and others going over. Spectators surrounded the falls on Saturday afternoon cheering on participants as they went over.