Curtailed by COVID: AW Fall Event Roundup


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It’s been a wild, wooly and wet year as far as events hosted by venerable river conservation organization American Whitewater. But it’s still finding ways for paddlers to celebrate on the water — most recently wrapping up its fundraiser at Colorado’s Gore Festival with more on the way this fall.

“We had to get creative around the festival mix this year due to the uncertainty around planning large events,” says AW Executive Director Mark Singleton. “We were hoping to be back to our normal big-bash routine, but we’re laying a little lower than usual again.”

As such, it is hosting events in a variety of smaller-scale forms, with membership drives at each event where paddlers can race, join AW, win great shwag, including boats and SUPs, and hang with friends.

“The strength of our voice is membership support—and festivals each summer and fall are one of our main sources of membership renewals and growth,” he says. “We will still be out and about celebrating our Stewardship work with the boating community this year.”

Below is a rundown of AW’s event updates for fall:

Deerfield Fest (MA) – Scheduled for September 11-12. As in past years, Deerfield Fest will bring together the paddling community on the river followed by an evening at Berkshire East ski area in Charlemont.

Gauley Fest (WV) – The recent standard Gauley Fest in Veterans Memorial Park unfortunately is cancelled. Instead, AW is hosting a Gauley Folly membership appreciation cookout in the field above the Masons Branch takeout on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 18. “Gauley Fest takes an incredible amount of planning and because of uncertainty this spring we simply ran out of time to plan the type of event we’ve done in the past,” Singleton says.

Feather Festival (CA) – “First and foremost our hearts go out to the communities impacted by the Dixie Fire,” says Singleton. “Unfortunately, Feather Fest is cancelled as fires in the West have become a huge deal (see our fire map) and the Dixie Fire is now burning in the Feather River Canyon. But we are all looking forward to a normal event mix in 2022.”

“Until then, we encourage you to enjoy your local rivers and join us as you can either online or at our events that will have a little different, but still enjoyable format.”

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