First Timer’s Guide to PaddleFest

 In Activities & Events, Gear & Equipment, Rafting Safety

Nestled between Pike’s National Forest and the Collegiate peaks, is the cozy town of Buena Vista, Colorado. With a Main Street that still in fact is the main street and just one stoplight, this quaint town is flooded with energy and the spirit of summer every year as PaddleFest kicks off the whitewater rafting season.

Buena Vista’s PaddleFest originally started as a simple gear swap get together held every spring. River rats would strike deals, exchanging PFDs for drysuits at the beginning of the season, stocking up on whitewater essentials for the summer ahead. Eventually word of mouth spread making this event one of the largest paddlesports gear swaps in the state of Colorado!

Embracing the opportunity, the community of Buena Vista partnered with BV based CKS, Colorado’s largest paddlesports retailer, to put on the amazing event as we know it today. Held every Memorial Day weekend in the park adjacent to Buena Vista’s Main Street, PaddleFest is now a multi day event, attracting thousands of whitewater aficionados.

As one of the first whitewater rafting outfitters established in the Arkansas River Valley, community involvement is one of our core values. Since PaddleFest is all about embracing the outdoors and sharing it with others, we encourage our guides to get involved and partner with local organizations. During PaddleFest, it’s pretty common for guests to bump into their guide volunteering at one of the booths.

With so much going on, the activity options can be a bit overwhelming. The good news is, you won’t go wrong no matter what you end up doing – PaddleFest is a guaranteed good time. That being said, here is a checklist we put together of our favorite PaddleFest activities, the ones you surely won’t want to miss!

– Professional + Ameteur SUP Competition
– Fitness Workshops
– Kayak + SUP Demos
– Kids’ Clinics
– Kayak Rodeo
– Bike + Running Races
– Yoga in the Park Hosted by jalaBlu Yoga
– Food Trucks/Booths
– Eddyline Brewery Beer Garden + Deerhammer Distillery Tent
– Live Music
– Local Vendors
– Arkansas River Play Park

PaddleFest is dedicated towards educating the next generation about outdoor recreation, and providing youth with safe, fun access to outdoor activities. There are many opportunities for expert enthusiasts and those who are just entering the world of paddlesports to learn new skills, test out gear, and prepare for a summer filled spending time outside.

This summer why not see what all the fun is about? Even if you can’t make it to PaddleFest, you’ll find the same energy exuded throughout town all summer long. Buena Vista is a community eager to share its love of the river with others. Book your trip today!

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