The Cumberland River Paddlefest is a rapidly growing toddler. It's only two years old, having emerged onto the Nashville, Tenn., paddling scene in 2013 with 500 in attendance; 1,200 are expected this year.
So, what's the attraction? Well, there's something for everyone. Held Saturday, May 2, 2015, from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM at 133 Sanders Ferry Road, Hendersonville, Tenn., there are gear clinics, paddling clinics, and fishing clinics. Wanna paddle with your dog? There's a clinic for you and your pooch too.
Also, the Cumberland River Paddlefest embraces a summertime-and-the-livin'-is-easy vibe, being free for both participants and vendors. There's no wretched registration. Founder of Paddle Adventures Unlimited Michael King says, "It's a community event for the paddle sport and recreation community. If you're just driving by, it's open to you too."
If you're a paddling novice, there's basic kayak and standup paddleboard instruction, both on and off the water. There's even SUP yoga. If you've already got river mud in your blood, there's live on-water rescue demonstrations to prepare you for those out-of-boat experiences.
Shopping for a new boat and wanna take that requisite test paddle? Boat vendors, manufacturers, and outfitters abound and they bring fleets. There's also a healthy presence of environmental and conservation groups, as well as rangers and wildlife agencies to promote water safety and outdoor recreation. In all, more than 70 booths to peruse.
There will be a rescue rope tossing competition, but if you just want to chill, Jerry Vandiver will be playing songs from his paddling albums, True and Deep – Songs for the Heart of the Paddler and Every Scratch Tells A Story.
Author, adventurer, photographer, and paddler, John Guider, will also be there, telling stories of his ranging trips, such as paddling from his Tennessee backyard to Florida. His photos will also be on display.
Yummy grub will be provided by Barefoot Charlie's, which is catering hot dogs, hamburgers, and other picnic food. Their smoker will be smokin', so it'll smell like summer too and their restaurant is just a jaunt down the river if you want the full menu.
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