The 2nd annual NoliFest http://www.nolifest.com/ was organized and hosted by USA RAFT http://www.usaraft.com/ this year on April 1-3. The festival was billed “For all who paddle” and the event was true to its roots. There was something for every paddler to enjoy. Plus we were blessed with rain the day before the festival started and it bumped up the river level to a near perfect 1,600-1,700 CFS flow. The festival activities included: whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing, Bellyak, Stand Up Paddleboarding, river races, SUP yoga, bonfire, live music, great food, vendor fair with sales/demos, used gear sale & swap. This festival truly brought the local paddling community together in every way!
All these activities were staged from the USA Raft Outpost on the river bank of the mighty Nolichucky River. Paddling trips on both the Lower Nolichucky River (Class I-II) and Nolichucky Gorge (Class III-IV) were of course the main highlight of the festival. USA Raft provided shuttles on Saturday as part of the festival and probable carried out one of the largest shuttles to the Gorge put-in ever in history using multiple buses and SUV/vans with trailers to haul paddlers and boats up to Poplar, NC.
There were a huge number of vendors on-site this year for folks to check out: Hala, Bellyak, Pyranha, Southern Raft Supply, Shaboomee, Star Inflatables, Rocky Mountain Rafts, Boardworks, LiquidLogic, Uncle Johnny’s, Overmountain Outdoors, Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, French Broad Outfitters, Eryn Chair Massage and Thrifty Adventures
The Jackson Action Wagon http://worldkayakblogs.com/wildwildwes/the-jaw/ was on site during the day on Saturday with free Jackson Kayak demos, giving away JK swag and showcase foe folks to check out some of the latest whitewater models in the JK line-up.
Our local Johnson City Chapter of Team River Runner http://www.teamriverrunner.org/get-involved/chapters/tennessee-johnson-citytricities-northern-tn/ also participated in the festival by taking serval of their veterans on rafting trips in the Gorge.
There were a couple of Special Features during the festival that were big booming fun:
WORLDKAYAK Hometown Throwdown Downriver Boatercross
Check out complete results, photos and report of the event at http://worldkayakblogs.com/throwdown/2016/04/08/2016-nolichucky-hometown-throwdown-1/
APE’s Downriver Freestyle Jam Session with Pat Keller
We had 17 participants join us in this paddling session with Pat on the Noli Gorge. Needless to say, but we all learned many great freestyle tips & tricks and had a blast shredding with Pat all afternoon long!
Check out this video edit by Clay Landrum of the freestyle fun we had with Pat.