Twenty-five volunteers with the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper organization pulled out more than 750 pounds of trash along local Chattahoochee River waters last weekend in preparation for the "Back to the Chattahoochee River Race and Festival" in Roswell this Saturday, June 11.
Looking forward to a fun-filled event on pristine waters, the organization plucked more than 10 pounds of aluminum cans, over 100 golf balls and two adult bicycles from the 9-mile course in an effort to get the river race-ready by Saturday.
The event, which is highly anticipated for all of North Fulton, begins with a race from Garrard Landing Park on Holcomb Bridge Road to the festival grounds at Riverside Park.
"It became clear about nine years ago, [which is] half our life span as river keepers, that our hard work was paying off and that the river had become cleaner and more accessible as a drinking and recreational resource. So, we thought it important to emphasize the notion of coming 'Back to the Chattahoochee,' and the event has grown ever since," said David Lee Simmons, communications director for the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. "It’s a great way to underscore the sense of community around the river for kayakers and canoers, for nature lovers, for Atlantans who love the great outdoors and can access the river right in their own backyard."
This year, the race begins at 9 a.m. and includes recreational categories, solo and tandem canoe divisions, as well as kayak and sea kayak divisions for various age groups. Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper expects as many as 300 racers, according to Simmons.
Paddlers have the option of choosing either competitive or recreational courses, which include Class I-II rapids and are 10 and eight miles each, respectively. Competitive paddlers will be timed by officials from the Georgia Canoeing Association. At the end of the course, racers will be greeted by the SweetWater Beer Barge, where they will be offered a soda, water, or a SweetWater brew (must have a valid ID) before going ashore.
Regardless of whether you plan to paddle competitively, recreationally or not at all, everyone is invited to the free festival at Riverside Park following the race from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Enjoy some live music from Donna Hopkins and Gareth Asher, swing by the river-gear swap, cool off at Riverside Park’s “spray ground,” get your face painted, browse the booths of various vendors and much more.
"The activities at this thing are awesome," said Simmons. "We have lots of kid-friendly activities including face-painting , rain-barrel painting, fly-casting lessons, a gear swap/sale, [which is] a new addition this year that people seem to love."
If you haven't already registered, you may do so on-site. Registration costs $50 for solo, $70 for tandem.