Canoe Carnival

Canoe Carnival 2021 is a go!

Canoe Carnival will be held August 7, 2021.

Since 1931, Canoe Carnival has been held during the first week of every August on Lower Aetna Lake. Now it is routinely celebrated on the first Saturday of August. Each year float groups compete for the prizes in various divisions, as well as for grand prize. As Medford Lakes' main annual event, the Canoe Carnival  week-long celebrations kick off with the Miss and Mr. Medford Lakes Pageant, the Canoe Carnival Ball and Mardi Gras Night. With a parade of elaborately hand-built floats supported on one or two canoes, it is a spectacle unlike any other!


Miss and Mr. Medford Lakes Pageant

Every July, your favorite 15-18 year old colonists vie for the honor to be crowned the King and Queen of Canoe Carnival!  Candidates traditionally litter the town with signs, banners and pamphlets leading up to the election. The Miss and Mr. Medford Lakes Pageant is typically held at Beach 3 roughly two weeks prior to Canoe Carnival but can be held at Neeta School if the weather is inclement.  Please keep an eye out on the Colony News to find out how to vote during the month of July.  Every Colony member is entitled to one vote.

Canoe Carnival Ball

Kick off a fun-filled Canoe Carnival week by attending the Canoe Carnival Ball at Medford Lakes Country Club. The Canoe Carnival Ball/Dance Party will be on Saturday, July 31st at 8:00 PM at the Country Club! A spirit award will be given on the awards night to the best represented float group at the ball. This year we will be having a DJ. Tickets are on sale in the Colony Office for a donation of $25 per person or $45/couple or $50/couple at the door.

Mardi Gras Night

The night before Canoe Carnival grab your canoes, kayaks, paddle boards and paddle boats! All Lakers are welcome to float on Lower Aetna and get a sneak peak of what each float group has been working on all summer. Lakefront houses are decorated to the nines with lights!  Local bands are also hanging on the lake playing some great music!  

Calling All Performers!

As part of Mardi Gras, the Canoe Carnival committee is putting together a showcase at the pavilion on Beach One for interested performers. The showcase will be held on Mardi Gras night, August 6, from 7:00-10:30. The committee is looking for musicians who would like to do a set of 45-55 minutes. We would prefer 1–2-person acoustic acts but full bands will be considered. If you would like to apply, please contact the Medford Lakes Colony office at 609-654-7747, or send an email to Please be sure to include a contact name, number, and email address along with a short description of your act.

Canoe Carnival

On the night of the big event find your spot around Lower Aetna Lake to view the big event! Tickets for bleachers seats on Aetna Way can be purchased in the Colony Office prior to Canoe Carnival. Colonists are welcome to set up their own chairs on the beach surrounding the bleachers starting at 4:00 pm ton August 7th, the afternoon of Canoe Carnival. Details regarding road closures and traffic details can be found here, as well as on the Medford Lakes Police website. Additional details can be found in the Colony News leading up to the event. Be sure to arrive early to claim your seat and park nearby! Canoe Carnival kicks off at dusk, weather permitting.

2021 Tickets

Tickets are on sale now!  Office hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  You can purchase tickets at the beaches the night of the Carnival beginning at 7 p.m. if there is space available.  All ticket prices increase by $1/ticket the night of the Carnival. 

For a donation of $8.00, you can get a reserved bleacher seat on Aetna Way.  There will not be any bleachers on the beach.  
For a donation of $4.00, you can bring your chair (overall height limit 32”) for seating on Beach 1.  No Standing Room Only.

PLEASE NOTE:  YOU CAN PUT YOUR CHAIRS ON THE BEACH ON CC DAY (August 7) ANY TIME AFTER 4:00 p.m.   NO EARLIER!   Any chairs on the beach before 4pm will be removed and placed along the fence.  You will be required to wait in line before entering the beach, and chairs alone cannot hold a spot in line.  No chairs allowed with an overall height exceeding 32”.  If anyone needs a higher seat, there will be room at the back of the beach for your chair.  ALSO, CHAIRS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED CLOSER TO THE WATER THAN 3 FEET.   THIS SET-UP IS AT THE REQUEST OF THE FIRE DEPARTMENT/ EMERGENCY SERVICES AND CANOE CARNIVAL.

Marshals Needed

The Canoe Carnival needs Marshals to help on the water during the event (August 7), please call 609-654-7493 with questions or to volunteer.


 Canoe Carnival Safety Meeting

There is a mandatory safety meeting on Tuesday, July 27th at 7 PM at the Craft Pavilion at Brooks Field.  *Please note new meeting location for this year.* All float groups must have representation at this meeting for participation in Canoe Carnival.

Canoe Carnival Awards Ceremony

The Canoe Carnival Awards Ceremony will be Sunday, August 8th at 5:00PM.  NEW FOR THIS YEAR - the awards ceremony will take place at Beach 1.  The results will not be posted on the door the night of Canoe Carnival; instead, a text will be sent to the float captains.


Canoe Carnival T-Shirts for Sale

Please stop by the Colony Office or Binkley’s at 684 Stokes Road to purchase your Canoe Carnival T-shirts.  Net proceeds are used to offset the cost of security and other necessary expenses to hold Canoe Carnival.  Thank you for being the best dressed member of our Borough when you wear your Canoe Carnival T-shirts.

Canoe Carnival Traffic Regulations 2021 - Click HERE!

Resident Letter from the Medford Lakes Police - Click HERE!

Canoe Carnival 2019

It was a magnificent Canoe Carnival! Thank you to the Float Builders, the Canoe Carnival Committee, homeowners on Lower Aetna Lake and neighbors who hosted this amazing event, the Police & Fire Departments, EMTs, a great community and more.  Despite the heat making it a difficult year for building a Float; the Floats were amazing.  


Congratulations to the Winners

Grand Prize 
On the Rocks (OTR) - Christmas Spectacular


Shawnee Division Winners

1st Place:  Scrub Pines - Fat Bottomed Squirrel

2nd Place:  Gunnels Deep - Cheers to Medford Lakes


Neeta Division Winners

1st Place:  Up N’ Comers - Summertime

2nd Place:  Canoe Kids on the Block - Moon Landing

Honorable Mention:  Sink or Swim - Día de los Muertos


Nokomis Division Winners

1st Place:  Medford United Methodist Church - Welcome to Medrock Lakes

2nd Place:  Nut-N-Butt Paddles - Nordic Triumph


Single Canoe Division Winners

1st Place:  Lil’ Paddlers - Harry Paddler

2nd Place:  Hardwick Family - Small Town

3rd Place:  Mildly Disturbed - Victory Lap, three weeks in the Lakes

Honorable Mention:  The Leftovers - Beauty & the Beast


Organization Division Winners

1st Place:  ML Lions Club - Time to Join the Lions

2nd Place:  ML Women's Club - Explorer Happiness is where you are


Junior Division Winners

1st Prize:  ML Camp - 9 Years to a Bronze Shield

 2nd Prize:  Pine Cones - Shiver Me Timbers


Mary Conrad Golden Oar Award:  Gary Miller

Captain’s Award for Technological Achievement:  On the Rocks (OTR)


Mardi Gras’ Winners

1st Prize – Tie:  Tursi Family & Franken Family

3rd Prize - Kornafel Family 

 Canoe Carnival Hall of Fame Winners 2019:

Joan & Joe Doyle

The Baker’s Dozen