One of the best ways to take in the beautiful fall foliage lining the 1,150 miles of shoreline at the Lake of the Ozarks is, of course, by boat. Visitors and locals alike will have another opportunity to cruise the Lake, enjoy the colorful seasonal transition and win big prize money, during the landmark 30th anniversary of the Fall Harbor Hop poker run on Saturday, October 10th.
The goal of this semi-annual event is for participants to complete the best poker hand (or hands) by traveling by lake or by land to their choice of waterfront checkpoints across the Lake (there are over 40 businesses consisting primarily of bars, restaurants and marinas on the Hop).
Tim Jacobsen, executive director of the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau, says that the Fall Harbor is always a fun event and brings out approximately 2,500 people excited to extend the boating season into the fall.
"We have many groups of people who come back year after year for the Harbor Hop. Everyone has a good time, and, really, it's just a great excuse to get out on the Lake and enjoy the wonderful scenery." Jacobsen also says it's a good way for visitors and locals alike to discover new restaurants and bars in the Lake area and make some new friends along the way. And, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Fall Harbor Hop, every participant will receive a free vinyl waterproof phone case compliments of the Lake of the Ozarks Marine Dealers Association. "We just want to commemorate this milestone and thank everyone for participating and making it such a great event."
Players will begin their "hop" by making a suggested donation of $20 per hand and drawing their first card at any of the participating locations. Six additional cards will be drawn for each hand as participants visit the various Harbor Hop locations around the Lake. When the seventh card is drawn, the hand is complete and is turned in at that final location. An additional card to help improve the hand can be obtained at that final location for a $5 donation.
For those that want to participate but don't have a boat, Playin' Hooky Water Taxi and Charters is offering a Harbor Hop Cruise where visitors will be chauffeured to many of the Harbor Hop stops. Playin' Hooky departs from the Millstone Marina in Gravois Mill. The cruise costs $40 per person and will leave the dock at noon and return at 6 pm. To book a place on the charter, visit PlayinHookyAtTheLake.com. There are also many marinas around the Lake area where visitors can rent boats by the hour, day or longer.
Harbor Hop prizes will be awarded to the top 10 poker hands, as well as the four worst hands and 10 randomly selected players. Winners will be notified by certified mail. There also will be prizes for "section winners" who complete their entire hand in one of these four sections:
Most Harbor Hop locations open at 11 am, though some open as early as 9 am. All eligible hands must be turned in by 7 pm. However, because hours vary from location to location, "hoppers" should consult the list of locations and operating hours by visiting FunLake.com/HarborHop. Complete rules for the Harbor Hop can also be found on that site, or by calling the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau at 1-800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253).