Riverfest tonight in downtown Newnan

by Sarah Fay Campbell

Plans are for a paddlin’ good time in downtown Newnan tonight for the Chattahoochee Bend River Fest.

The event runs from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. and will feature live music, canoe and kayak demonstrations, canoe and kayak “tug of war” competitions, dancing, informational booths, a river film festival and a small art show.

The Chattahoochee Bend River Fest will welcome the approximately 400 participants in Paddle Georgia 2014, a weeklong trip down the Chattahoochee River. The group will camp out at Newnan High School tonight and Thursday night, as participants paddle along the Chattahoochee in Carroll and Coweta counties. They’ll leave early Friday for the final leg of the trip, which will end in Franklin.

“[The event is also an opportunity to] increase public awareness of the great recreational park to which Coweta County is home,” said Steve St. Laurent, president of the Friends of Chattahoochee Bend State Park.

The nearly 3,000-acre state park lies along the banks of the Chattahoochee River and encompasses the large granite outcrops that give Flat Rock Road its name. The park features camping, hiking and picnicking, and work is ongoing to add mountain bike and equestrian trails.

The tug-of-war competitions, which will be held in a giant pool being brought to South Court Square, will begin at 6:30 p.m. There will be both individuals in kayaks, and three-person teams in canoes. The Environmental Club at Newnan High School is helping out with the competition, and participants will sign up at the club’s tent. A $10 donation per team is requested but not required.

“There are already a few rivalries going on,” St. Laurent said. “Sign up as early as possible.”

The club members will also be providing breakfast to the paddlers both Thursday and Friday.

The Johnson Brothers Music Revue will perform at the event, followed by DJ Corey Powell.

Informational booths will be set up by various groups including Chattahoochee Bend State Park, the Friends of Chattahoochee Bend, the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Piedmont Newnan Hospital, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and the Georgia River Network, which puts on Paddle Georgia. Riverkeeper Sally Bethea is expected to be on hand. The Coweta County Fire Department’s water rescue team will also be on hand.

The film festival will take place upstairs at the Carnegie – in the air conditioning. There will be four films featured, three of which directly relate to the Chattahoochee.

“The Chattahoochee – Reimagine our River” will play from 6 to 6:24. At 6:34 will be “Chattahoochee Unplugged,” the story of how the city of Columbus built the world’s largest urban whitewater course.

“Big Muddy Moose – Missouri River SUP” is the tale of one man’s journey down the Missouri River on a stand-up paddle board. It runs from 7:41 to 8:26. The last movie, running from 8:36 to 9:26, is “Who Owns Water.” In the film, two brothers travel the length of the Chattahoochee River in order to try to answer the question: Who owns the water flowing through three states that have argued over the issue for over 20 years?

For more information, visit www.bendfriend.com .



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