Humor, fun and creativity abounded as The Smart Farm launched its Floating Zucchini Kayak Relay Sunday morning at the Twin Lakes Recreational Area in Palatine.
The event was an unlikely pairing of water sports and vegetable art.
Teams of kayakers sallied into the water to retrieve vegetables hidden in buoys bobbing in the lake. Then they took the vegetables to a picnic area and, with the assistance of toothpicks and other paraphernalia, turned the produce into art.
Cuba Township's team, named the Cuban Missiles and operating under the motto, "Lettuce Beet You!," won the competition for creative use of vegetables.
Their "Garden of the Sea" display included a clam carved out of sweet peppers that contained a "pearl" made with a pearl onion.
"I thought we had a good idea. So it was (a matter of) whether we could execute," said Cuban Missiles team member Rusty Rose, who is married to Cuba Township Clerk Priscilla Rose. "I had excellent chefs and prep people."
As for the kayakers, the fastest time belonged to the Fab 4. After being the first to arrive back to the shore, Fab 4 team member Melissa Marquis of Barrington said she was inspired to participate because of the charity involved.
"It's a good race. It's for a good cause," she said.
The Floating Zucchini Kayak Relay will benefit The Smart Farm, an educational garden for the Barrington area and nearby communities. Products from the garden help out local food pantries, such as the one operated by Cuba Township.
Cuba Township Clerk Priscilla Rose said The Smart Farm comes to the township weekly to bring produce to share with roughly 60 families who are eligible to receive food assistance from the township due to unemployment or high medical bills.
Team member Claire Miller of Inverness, who has been kayaking in Hawaii, said, said the relay race was great fun. She said she has passed by Twin Lakes many times, but this was one time she was able to enjoy it.
The teams seemed to enjoy the event, and some sported viking hats. Their team names reflected their good nature, including one called the Aquaholics.
"We love water and we love to party," said team member Tom Hills.