That's right folks...it's that time of year
This is just about the largest gathering of paddlers in the country
and the entire Ohio River is reserved just for us
Where – All of the festivities start at Coney Island. Beyond that, just follow the kayaks on the roofs of cars to the parking lot and off-loading area.
When – This is a two-part effort...if you're smart.
Friday - This is when you should bring your boat...only. Folks will be available to off load your boat, assist with your registration confirmation, and give you a matching wrist band to the tag on your boat. From there you'll be able to see where your boat is being stashed so you can retrieve it easily on Saturday morning. If you don't do this on Friday, expect a lot of rush-rush in the morning.
But don't just go home...see below
Saturday - This is when you retrieve your boat and shove off. But here's an inside tip that worked extremely well last year for me. Park your car at the Sawyer Point parking lot ($5.00 but worth it) and catch the shuttle bus up river to Coney Island. The buses only run from 6:00 - 8:00 AM. When you get done with the trip, your car is waiting for you, and you're not standing in a long line of sweaty paddlers waiting for a ride back to Coney Island followed by the drive back and another long line to get onto the Public Landing to pick up your boat. But here's the trick...catch the first bus!
This is when you bring all your paddling gear.
Friday Evening - Drop your boat and join the party! There's all kinds of booths, food, things to do, and entertainment. Bring some grub to share and if we happen to see each other, then it will likely be near where the bands are playing. (By the way, one of the bands is Rev Payton and His Big Damn Band...I've been wanting to see these guys for some time.)
Paddlefest Swapmeet - Boats, gear, and so on. You never know, this could be the place to score a great deal. But it's all as the water flows and brings boats and stuff downstream with it. It's on Friday evening only, so there's another great reason to park it and look around.
Saturday Launch - It may sound like it would mayhem on the Ohio, but not so. These folks have got it wired and you'll be surprised at how quick and efficient they get it done. You'll collect your boat, get into a four to six boat-wide line, and the traffic cop (last year it was our Larry) will get you moving ricky-ticky quick. But here's the catch, with so many folks putting in, finding our TSK group might be a challenge. We'll try, but no guarantees.
Number of Attendees – Thousands and thousands! Really...about 3,000 last year.
Registration – This is entirely up to you and here's the link: https://secure.getmeregistered.com/get_information.php?event_id=7590
Scroll down though the list, click on the register button, and follow the instructions.
What To Bring – PFD / sun hat / warm weather clothing / water / lunch or snacks (if eating on the water / sun screen
Restrooms – At the Coney Island put in, at a half-way point, and at the Public Landing.
Weather Forecast – I'll let you know as soon as it's evident, but the show will go on rain or shine.
River Forecast – This is the only thing that could put a kink in the plans, but only if things are really out of control. And if this happens, an email blast will go out from your online registration.
Experience – Suitable for…beginners, but keep in mind the 8.5 mile trip. If you can't do it, with all honesty, keep yourself and others safe. However, if you should have a problem on the river, there will be a multitude of water marshals within the pack...many of which will be from TSK.
Post-Paddle Sustenance – At Sawyer Point...food, drinks, and lots of odd-looking kayakers.
Liability Waiver – As always, by joining in this event you are acknowledging that you have read and agree to abide by the Tri-State Kaykers liability waiver. You can find this waiver in the Files section of the Tri-State Kayakers web site
It's a lot of fun
Something every paddler should do at least once