Wild Blue River Festival set for September 23
Whether you feel right at home in a canoe or kayak, or you’re a beginner on the paddling scene, the Wild Blue River Festival is a great time to do a little racing and find family-friendly fun on the Banister River.
King’s Bridge Landing (1041 Bethel Road), located in the Town of Halifax, is the place to be for this annual event, now in its fourth year. Visitors can get in on the paddling action, with kayak and canoe races set to begin mid-morning, while local and regional organizations share information and kids of all ages can participate in crafting and play activities.
The Wild Blue River Festival will take place Saturday, September 23 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The kayak race will begin at 9:30 a.m. and the canoe race will begin at 10 a.m. Race participants are encouraged to register online via paddleguru.com. The Wild Blue River Festival is listed by name on the Races page. The cost to pre-register online is $20, which includes the cost of insurance and a t-shirt. Pre-registration will close on Friday, September 8.
Racers can register the day of the event for $20, which includes the cost of insurance. T-shirts for those racers registering the day of the event will be $5 each and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. All racers will pay their registration fee on race day. First, second and third place medals will be given in each of four divisions – single and tandem kayak, and single and tandem canoe.
“King’s Bridge Landing on the Banister River in the Town of Halifax continues to see an increase in boat traffic, and more people are realizing what a great section of waterway this is, for fun, relaxation, fishing and family time,” said Mayor Kristy Johnson. “The Town of Halifax wants to encourage even more people to experience the Banister at this year’s Wild Blue River Festival.”
Paddlers will be able to experience this officially recognized Virginia Scenic River in an enjoyable, family-friendly environment. The float to Terry’s Bridge is just more than six miles, and paddlers will often spy blue heron and bald eagles along the journey.
Event planners are working to have canoes on-hand to rent the day of the event. Shuttling is also being planned to ensure participants can get back to their vehicles and get their canoes and kayaks loaded.
Paddlers and non-paddlers can enjoy the fun at King’s Bridge Landing. Crafts and games for visitors such as Gyotaku fish printing, do-it-yourself binoculars, cork boat building and racing, drawings for Paddle Prizes, and information from event partners like Staunton River State Park and Dan River Basin Association. Finally, our LOVE sign from the Halifax County Department of Tourism will be on-site to serve as a backdrop for memorable photos!
“We are fortunate to receive support from the community for our Wild Blue River Festival and part of our mission is the recognize our sponsors and partnering organizations,” said Olivia Epps, owner of Mix & Ripple and coordinator for the event. “We cannot succeed in this or other events without community support and we are continually grateful for that backing.”
To date, monetary sponsors for this year’s event include Staunton River State Park, Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital, and J. Brandon Scearce – Nationwide Insurance. Businesses and organizations wishing to sponsor the event and/or donate an item to the “Paddle Prizes” can contact Epps at 434.517.1056.
“Businesses and organizations working together is the key to continued success and strength in the Town of Halifax,” said Halifax Town Manager Carl Espy. “The Wild Blue River Festival is a great way to work together and a fun event which brings people together, both in our town businesses and on our waterways.”