Gauley Fest, which started in 1983, has become the largest paddling festival in the world. It also serves as American Whitewater’s biggest fundraiser with all proceeds going to support river conservation and stewardship projects throughout the nation. This year’s event takes place in Summersville, West Virginia on September 20th-22nd.
The festival showcases American Whitewater as well as other top whitewater vendors in the boating community. Throughout the weekend, there will be raffles, a silent auction, and a marketplace. At the marketplace, attendees will be able to view product demonstrations, become a member of American Whitewater, interact with manufacturer representatives, and purchase all kinds of paddling gear. Since this is a whitewater and river themed event, shuttles will be running for those wanting to get out there and paddle. Be sure to print this shuttle schedule out and bring it with you. Like any good festival, there will be food, drinks, and live music. The performers are the Kalob Griffin Band and West Virginia’s own Halftime String Band. Check the festival’s website for a full itinerary of the weekend.
In order for things to flow smoothly, Gauley Fest requires nearly 300 volunteers. Two hours of your time can be a huge help to the American Whitewater staff. There are only 10 of them! Plus you can score a Gauley Fest t-shirt and entry into a volunteer only raffle. Interested? Contact the volunteer coordinator, Natalie Cox, for more details.
Camping is available Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights on festival grounds. There are no reservations, so first come first serve! There is no additional cost to camp as it’s already included in ticket prices. While dogs aren’t exactly encouraged to attend, entrance will be available. The fee is ten dollars per well-behaved dog. They must be kept on leashes at all times. This is a kid and family friendly event, so let’s keep everyone safe and happy!