May 1, 2013

Snake show, paddle events highlight Waterfest XIII

Submitted by the Coosa River Basin Initiative

— Snake shows, Canoe Tug-O-Wars and a 13-Mile Paddle on the Oostanaula will entertain hundreds this weekend at the Coosa River Basin Initiative’s (CRBI) WATERFEST XIII, and a new Etowah River boating guidebook debuting at the event will soon provide others with a “passport” to explore one of North Georgia’s most inviting rivers.

The Etowah River User’s Guide, a comprehensive guide to the 163-mile river, features 150 color photos, 17 color maps and a wealth of information about the river’s natural and cultural history as well practical notes like where to access the river and how many miles between these access points—all printed on waterproof paper suitable for stowing in a boat for the next river trip.

Published by the University of Georgia Press, it was created by CRBI and Georgia River Network during the past two years.  WATERFEST will mark the first time it will be available for sale. CRBI Executive Director and Riverkeeper, Joe Cook, who authored the book, will be available to sign copies. The book sells for $18.95

Meanwhile, WATERFEST’s paddlesports and environmental education activities will also be in full swing. The Environmental Fair, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 4, will feature a noon-time reptile show by Jason Clark of Southeastern Reptile Rescue. The snake specialists will also bring their “Reptile Wagon,” a 45-foot traveling zoo, featuring live snakes, alligators and turtles.

The reptile show will be followed at 1:30 p.m. with the Cedar Creek Park Canoe Tug-O-War contest in which four-person co-ed teams will paddle it out in a massive portable pool. Winners of the double-elimination tournament will win $200 cash, gift certificates to Provino’s or Longhorn’s Steakhouse and a “big gaudy trophy.” Teams can still register at

Other environmental education exhibits, children’s activities, an Environmental Quiz Bowl competition for area elementary schools and food booths will round out the Fair. All events take place at Rome’s Ridge Ferry Park.

WATERFEST weekend kicks off Friday afternoon, May 3, from 5-8 p.m. with Kayak Tug-O-Wars for children and adults. Entry fee is $5 and includes a raffle ticket to win a new Old Town Canoe in the Blue Sky Outfitter Canoe Raffle.

The paddling continues Saturday morning, May 4, with a 13-mile paddle trip and canoe, kayak and paddleboard race on the Oostanaula River sponsored by Blue Sky Outfitter. Gift certificates and medals will be awarded to winners in numerous race divisions.

A total of more than $4000 in cash and prizes will be up for grabs in the various paddle events and the organization’s Canoe-a-thon fundraising contest. More information is available at Participants can register on the day of the event, but complimentary canoes and kayaks for the Oostanaula River paddle must be reserved in advance.  

WATERFEST is sponsored by WLAQ, The Ridge 95.7, Cedar Creek Park, Blue Sky Outfitter, Soymet 101, The Villas at Coosawattee, Pirelli, Marglen Industries, Georgia Power Co., International Paper, Harbin Clinic, SCANA Energy, AMEC, Terra Renewal, Burgess Insurance Services, Mt. Vernon Mills, Johnson Outdoors, Infinity Childrens Services, WSB Family 2 Family, Panera Bread, Papa Johns, Captain Planet Foundation, Matt Owens Logging, Ole Tymer BBQ, Provino's, Movies at Mt. Berry Square, Tellus Museum, Purple Mountain Natural Foods, Patagonia, Profile Extrusion, Kaliedo-Sno,  Riverside Auto Group, Scott Logistics, Walker Orthotics & Prosthetics, Trask Management,  Longhorn's Steakhouse, Lieberman Chiropractic, Lavender Mountain Hardware and Rise & Shine Farms.

CRBI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance. Its mission is to inform and empower citizens to protect, preserve and restore North America’s most biologically diverse river basin.