River kayaking memorial to honor Eppie Johnson on Sunday

The public is invited to join a flotilla of kayaks that will float down the American River on Sunday to honor Eppie Johnson, Sacramento restaurateur and originator of the annual Eppie’s Great Race.

The memorial is expected to include 100 watercraft and will take place at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Sunrise footbridge near Sunrise Boulevard. The float will occur after a short address by family and friends.

Johnson’s family will drop a flower wreath into the waters of the American River and then kayakers and other boaters will paddle past the flowers in his honor. The paddlers will end up at River Bend Park, six miles downstream.

Anyone wishing to paddle in the event, drop flowers from the bridge or attend as a spectator is welcome.

Johnson, who died in September, began Eppie’s Great Race 41 years ago. The triathlon features running, biking and paddling.

The event has raised more than $1.4 million to support recreation programs for Sacramento County’s disabled. This year’s race is scheduled for July 19.

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