The Buckhannon River near Tenmile
The Buckhannon River near Tenmile / My Buckhannon file photo

Explore the Buckhannon River via kayak, canoe or paddleboard at 2023 Riverfest

BUCKHANNON – The Buckhannon Riverfest is returning with kayak, canoe and paddleboard rentals so participants can explore the Buckhannon River from the Hampton access point.

Riverfest organizer Kevin Campbell attended the June 22 Consolidated Public Works Board meeting to request approval for the event that will take place Aug. 26 at the Elizabeth J. “Binky” Poundstone Riverwalk Park from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“This year’s Riverfest will be a little bigger than it has been in the last two years because, once again, we will have an outfitter offering kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards for rent; they will be offered by Adventure WV, which is affiliated with WVU,” Campbell said.

“WVU will be bringing down a shuttle van, and they will be bringing down students from WVU, and then once they are here, they will be renting the equipment to members of the community and transporting them down to Hampton,” he added.

Safety lessons required before renting any of the equipment will begin at the Riverwalk Park at 8:30 a.m. Yoga kicks off the event at 10 a.m. and will take place at the basketball courts. Entertainment will be provided by the Elk River Ramblers at noon and the water blessing will take place at 3 p.m.

In a previous My Buckhannon article, Campbell described the water blessing and its significance to Riverfest.

“We ask everybody attending to bring water that sustains your life, so it can be tap water or it can be out of a stream near your house,” Campbell said. “I have people bringing water from the Potomac. What we do is, everybody blends their water together, and we offer some prayers over it, and then we return some of that water to the Buckhannon River, split that blended water and then everybody can take some of it home.”

Campbell noted the last few Riverfests have been smaller due to COVID, but he hopes the 2023 event will be a return to form.

“Even during COVID, we had good events, so Riverfest continues to grow,” Campbell said. “It was biggest in its second year, and then it declined for a while, but it’s coming back, and every year we get enough donations to fund it, so it should go on in perpetuity.”

Mayor Robbie Skinner said he saw Riverfest posters in Morgantown, and he was happy to see the local event stretch that far.

“We went to Morgantown last week when we took some of the Stockert board members up to Morgantown to look at some facilities,” Skinner said. “We stopped by the WVU Student Activity Center and there were posters for the Buckhannon Riverfest there this year, so that was pretty cool.”

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