14th Annual Catawba RiverFest


There's Something for Everyone at RiverFest!

The 14th annual Catawba RiverFest will take place on Sept. 16th. It’s going to be a fantastic day highlighting conservation, community and economic organizations celebrating the park system and the Catawba River Basin and its critical importance to the quality of life we all enjoy.

The festival will take place in and around the lower parking lot at the Paddy’s Creek Area near the concession stand between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Information and interactive booths for dozens of area conservation, outdoor recreation and historic organizations will help visitors understand and appreciate the story of the river, how it has shaped the region and the many challenges it faces today.

There will be opportunities to demo kayaks, canoes and paddleboards free of charge. The all-day raffle will feature prizes that include park posters, t-shirts, a 9-foot kayak package and a mountain bike. Raffle tickets are available now for purchase at the Lake James State Park concession stand and during the event.

Festival goers will also be able to participate in a host of free educational programs throughout the day including junior ranger programs. Starting with a live bird demonstration and rehabilitated hawk release at 10:30 a.m., the events continue throughout the day with paddle eco-tours organized by the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation or take a trip on a ranger-led boat tour - just visit the Friends of N.C. State Parks booth when you arrive and fill out the sign-up sheet. There will be a fascinating hike with Dr. McDougal from Lenoir-Rhyne University focusing on invasive plants and their effects on the environment, as well as an introduction to mushrooms walk with Mike Hopping from the Asheville Mushroom Club. In addition to scheduled activities there will be craft tables set up for take-home kid’s crafts throughout the day.

Some of the scheduled exhibitors include the N.C. Wildlife Resource Commission, Lake James Area Wildlife and Nature Society, McDowell Trails Association, Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, Catawba Valley Heritage Alliance, Lake James Environmental Association and many more. Musical entertainment will occur throughout the day, courtesy of Alan Darveaux with Slight Departure and Piedmont Natural Grass. Local food vendors will have a variety of lunch options available and the park concession stand will be open throughout the day, selling snacks, ice cream and refreshments to the masses.

The Catawba RiverFest is free and is sponsored by Lake James State Park, Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, Catawba Valley Heritage Alliance, McDowell Trails Association and the Friends of Lake James State Park. More information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfLakeJamesStatePark or call (828) 584-7728.