HUDSON — Residents "Packed the Pond" at Hudson Springs Park Aug. 7, filling the lake with kayakers, canoers and paddleboarders, among other aquatics sports.

Now in its sixth year, the summer celebration was sponsored by Friends of Hudson Parks and included a complimentary cookout.

Kent State University’s Crooked River Adventures provided kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards that people used for free. The event has grown in popularity each year.

As in previous years, one lucky person at Pack the Pond won a kayak raffled by the Friends of Hudson Parks. The Tangerine Elie Strait 120 kayak and paddle is valued at $860. In addition to the kayak, many secondary raffle items were donated by local merchants including Ace Hardware, Crooked River Adventures, Johnny’s Diner, Target, Ultimate Car Wash, Vertical Runner and others.

A highlight of Pack the Pond (and the origin of the name) is the "Pack the Pond Challenge," pictured above. The goal was to get as many watercraft as possible onto the lake at the same time for a group photo. Individuals with boats at Hudson Springs were encouraged to participate.

The celebration featured other free activities for the entire family, as the Hudson Fire Department brought a fire truck and there were kids’ activities. Local geocaching experts, the "Muddy Dawgs," answered questions about geocaching throughout the evening and featured information about the current Geocaching Adventure sponsored by the Friends.

Visit www.friendsofhudsonparks.org to read the latest updates about the event, or check the Friends Facebook page at www.facebook.com/?friendsofhudsonparks.

Friends of Hudson Parks is a non-profit organization which actively supports the mission of the Hudson Parks through volunteerism, advocacy, promotion and fund raising. Pack the Pond and other activities are made possible in part through the support of 2017 "Best Friends" sponsor, Hudson Preschool Parents.