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Riverfest Celebrates French Broad Headwaters

Free tubing rides at RiverFest
Free tubing rides at RiverFest

From anglers, paddlers and tubers to people who love a scenic drive, Transylvania’s Upper French Broad River provides lots of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. This June, the Transylvania French Broad Stewards, the Town of Rosman, Conserving Carolina and Headwaters Outfitters are joining up again to put on the fourth annual Upper French Broad Riverfest, and invite residents and visitors to come spend a fun day celebrating the river.

The festival takes place June 22 from 10 am to 3:30 pm, on the riverside at Rosman’s beautiful Champion Park. It is a free, family-oriented event with lots of hands-on games and activities for kids of all ages –  including tubing rides sponsored by Headwaters Outfitters, archery, fishing, a scavenger hunt, and more!

The French Broad at Champion Park alone provides a fun activity – with clear water shallow enough for wading. Festival goers can a;sp find out about game cameras from Transylvania County Library’s Candid Critters. They can learn about water quality monitoring and insects from Mountain True. They can collect and examine fish with Oxbow River Snorkeling. They can see how soil conservation works with Riverlink’s stream table. Or they can try their hand at fly tying with French Broad Fly Fishers. Other information and demonstrations will include swift water rescue, the French Broad Paddle Trail, and more outdoor conservation and recreation subjects. Electric vehicles will be on display by The Land of Sky Clean Vehicles Coalition and Blue Ridge Electric Vehicle club.

Thanks to NC Wildlife Resources, Rocky the giant hellbender salamander will be returning by popular demand. Hudson Grothe will also be back with his whimsical balloons.

On stage will be John Trufant and Friends, with their great mix of blues and rock; the amazing banjo and guitar-picking of Owen Grooms and Mark Queen; and toe-tapping old time music by the Creekside Crawfish youth stringband. Yvonne Dickson will return with her fascinating tales of the Cherokee in our area.

Many other vendors and exhibitors will also be taking part. Delicious food will be available from food trucks including Blue Smoke Barbecue, Mama Bear’s and Babaal’s Ice Cream Shop.

Updated festival information, as well as photos of the 2018 event, vendor registration forms and other details can be found at transylvaniafrenchbroadstewards.org, and on Facebook at FrenchBroadRiver.

Visitors who come to the park a little early can also watch the beginning of the Hellbender 20-Miler canoe relay, sponsored by Headwaters Outfitters. River conditions permitting, the relay finishes up in the afternoon at Hap Simpson Park in Brevard. Winners will be celebrated at an after-party at Headwaters Outfitters’ Forks of the River Taproom in Rosman.

Conserving Carolina is a local land trust dedicated to protecting land and water, promoting good stewardship, and creating opportunities for people to enjoy nature. Learn more and become a member at conservingcarolina.org.

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