American Whitewater Deerfield Riverfest

A few weekends ago marked the annual Deerfield Riverfest as a fundraiser for American Whitewater. The fest is the biggest event of the year for the area and draws kayakers from all over the northeast to the Deerfield River in Charlemont, Mass. During the weekend, there are releases on the Fife Brook section which is class I-III, as well as on the Dryway section, class III-IV. It’s such a great event because it allows all the paddlers in the region to come together and celebrate the recreational releases on the Deerfield that have been happening for nearly 30 years now, which lets people enjoy the beauty of the Deerfield Valley from the water.

For the past two years, Zoar Outdoor in Charlemont has included their event called Demofest into Riverfest to draw even more paddlers out for the weekend. Demofest is a completely free weekend where anyone with a little bit of experience kayaking can come and take free mini-clinics and try out boats from many different manufacturers. We had the full Jackson Kayak lineup at the event site and people were super fired up about the Antix and the Nirvana! I had an awesome time teaching mini-clinics about freestyle kayaking, paddling like a girl, and more, as well as spreading some good Jackson vibes. A lot of people who were new to Zoar or had been before came out and took some of the free clinics, and it was great to see everyone.

My favorite part of the weekend was on Saturday night which was the big festival. The festival is not nearly as big as Gauleyfest by any means, but it still supports American Whitewater, which is awesome. And it’s so unique because the area fosters such a tight knit community of paddlers, so I felt like I knew or had seen almost everyone at the festival. I’m so grateful that American Whitewater and the rafting companies in the area have worked so hard to allow for paddlers to use the Deerfield river for decades now and keep the love of the outdoors alive in the area. It was also great to see everyone supporting their local paddlesports shop by coming a shopping at Zoar.

By far one of my favorite events of the year just because of the camaraderie and because everyone has a good time. Can’t wait for it to roll around next year!


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