Why Feather Fest is the West Coast's Most Exciting River Festival
Every autumn paddlers from across the Western United States flock to the North Fork of the Feather River near Oroville, CA. The fourth weekend of September marks the final scheduled release from Rock Creek Dam and the incredible Feather Fest at Indian Jim Campground. This festival is an annual celebration of the Feather River and a fundraiser for American Whitewater’s work in California. At its core, is a celebration of AW’s successful efforts to restore boatable flows to the Feather River and reconnect the community to this special place. The festival is put on through efforts of AW volunteers and the paddling community a whole pitching in to support this amazing gathering.
This 3 day event brings together boaters who run every type of whitewater boat down 3 distinct sections of river from the fun Class III rapids of Roger’s Flat Section, to the exciting Class IV on the Lobin Section, to the tough and intimidating Class V Tobin Section. The roadside access makes the festival an exciting event for aspiring boaters to paddle alongside some truly world class paddlers.
Friday saw hundreds of boaters enjoying low water runs down all three sections of the river. The festival kicked off that night with a film series from local paddlers pushing the limits on exploratory runs, helping other female boaters develop, and enjoying the best of California’s big water year.
Saturday’s Class V kayak races were a pitched battle between amazing kayakers who are both on and off the pro circuit. The entire section of river is roadside creating a unique opportunity for paddlers and non-boaters alike. Especially during the races, everyone is able to enjoy some top level kayaker charging some tough Class V from the river banks. Live music, great food, and an awesome DJ that evening were the height of the festivities. Jackson and Pyranha Kayaks were hand running demo tents all weekend and generously donated kayaks to help support AW.
Sunday’s flows shut off at 2 PM capping off the weekend, this amazing river festival, and another epic summer boating season in California. All this helps to support American Whitewater’s advocacy efforts and restoring flows to rivers throughout the United States.
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