CLARKDALE -- The quiet water of the Verde River is replacing the typical green felt tabletop for a poker game Saturday, culminating in the first Clarkdale concert in the park of the season.
One of two final RiverFest events, the poker run has room for about 100 more participants who want to paddle leisurely down the Verde to collect a full hand of cards for a chance to win $1,000 for first place.
Town Manager Gayle Mabery said the event launches from the lower TAPCO access point.
"Following the event on the river, the last stop on the poker run is in the park in upper Clarkdale, so anyone who isn't able or doesn't feel like participating in the poker run can still participate at the post-paddle party in the park," Mabery said.
The event has room for 150 participants, she said, but there were only about 40 registered two weeks before the event. Register at clarkdale.az.gov.
"So your odds of winning are incredible," she said. "We're hoping to hit 50."
Mayor Doug Von Gausig said he's not worried about participation, with 40 people on the river already a sizeable number.
"Typically, with these events you have a lot of registration near the end," Von Gausig said.
Participants will paddle down about 3.5 miles of the river, he said.
"That will be not a race, but a collection of cards as you go down the Verde River," he said.
Clarkdale is hosting the event in conjunction with the Verde River Valley Nature Organization, a group that has been celebrating Riverfest in Cottonwood, Clarkdale and Camp Verde since March 22.
The event runs from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., and may also feature the grand opening of one of Clarkdale's first river outfitters, the Verde River Adventure Company. The business's offices will be located across the street from the park.
A nature festival from April 24 to 27 marks the end of Verde RiverFest, and for the first time features two field trips to the river.