UPDATE: Parkersburg Paddlefest 2018 has been CANCELLED due to bad weather and river levels. Read more in their press release here.
Get your canoes, kayaks, and stand up paddle boards (SUPs) ready for the 5th Annual Paddlefest in Parkersburg, West Virginia. The weekend long event offers up paddle sports in three different locations. And when you’re not skimming through the water, there are plenty of other events to keep you busy on land. Let’s take a look at what this year’s Paddle Fest has to offer and I have a special coupon code for attendees.
Disclosure: Thanks to the Greater Parkersburg CVB for tours of some of the many historic locations throughout the area.
Friday Paddlefest Events
Paddlefest kicks off with a glow paddle. Starting along Point Park on the Ohio River, paddlers will set off on a slow cruise up the Little Kanawha River at 8:00pm. Participants are encouraged to decorate their craft with glow sticks, glow paint, and battery operated lights. This free event is also part of the Riverfest celebration at Point Park where sternwheelers and live music line the shore.
Saturday Paddlefest Events
The main event for Paddlefest takes place Saturday. The mighty Ohio River will be closed to commercial traffic while paddlers make the 3 mile journey from Point Park to Blennerhassett Island State Park. Once on the island, Temple Challenge, Full Circle Yoga, and Appalachian Disc Golf will host free events. Regular island activities, such as mansion tours and horse drawn wagon rides, are available for an additional fee (cash only). A snack bar, gift shop, and bathrooms are located on the island. The event lasts from 8:00am through 2:00pm.
After a rest, recharge at the Downtown Throwdown craft brew and BBQ festival. Located in Bicentennial Park, just a few blocks from the shore, you’ll find live music, food, and drinks from several local restaurants. The Downtown Throwdown runs from 4:00pm through 10:00pm. Riverfest also continues with more live music along the waterfront from 4 to 11pm.
For more information and to purchase your Paddlefest tickets, visit the Greater Parkersburg website here. Use coupon code PKBpaddlefest5 for a $5 discount. You will also receive a few ticket to the Downtown Throwdown. There are a limited number of tickets, so order yours before they’re gone!
Sunday Paddlefest Events
Sunday takes paddlers out of town to the North Bend State Park. Here participants can cruise amongst the old trees which were part of the landscape until the river dam was installed less than 30 years ago. The winding lake offers a change in scenery from the wide open Ohio River and you’ll likely see plenty of wildlife living in the trees. Open paddle begins at 10AM.
Back in Parkersburg, there is still much to do. The long running annual Harvest moon Festival is the main draw. Nearly 200 artisans and vendors pack into City Park both Saturday and Sunday. Proceeds from the festival support the Wood County Recreation Commission, which helps fund youth activities throughout the year.
I highly recommend the Blennerhassett Inn, where you’ll find elegance and comfort in the old Victorian building. As a bonus, it is located right next to Bicentennial Park for easy access to the Downtown Throwdown. Read more about the Blennerhassett Inn here.
A more modern style can by found at the recently renovated TownPlace Suites a few blocks away. The rooms are very spacious and feature a fully functional kitchenette, perfect for longer stays in town. Read more here for an in depth review.
More Things to Do in Parkersburg
Parkersburg has long been an important town along the Ohio River since the days when this was the American Frontier. Consider spending a few more days in town to visit the many historical attractions, such as the Blennerhassett Museum, Henderson Hall, and stroll the Julia Ann Historic District. You can read more about these places and more here.
For more information and to purchase your Paddlefest tickets, visit the Greater Parkersburg website. Use coupon code PKBpaddlefest5 for a $5 discount. You will also receive a few ticket to the Downtown Throwdown. There are a limited number of tickets, so order yours before they’re gone!