CINCINNATI, OHIO – Registration for Ohio River Paddlefest 2023 is now open! Local nonprofit Adventure Crew will host the nation’s largest paddling event, now in its 22nd year, on Saturday, August 5. Adventure Crew’s increasingly popular Outdoors for All Expo, a free community event celebrating all things outdoors, will kick off Paddlefest weekend on Friday, August 4.
“Between Ohio River Paddlefest and the Outdoors for All Expo, Paddlefest weekend has become a can’t-miss event for outdoor enthusiasts,” said Miriam Wise, director of support and engagement for Adventure Crew. “Mark your calendars and invite your friends and family to join us the first weekend in August for this much-loved annual tradition.”
Paddlefest brings 2,000 paddlers in kayaks, canoes and SUPs to the Ohio River each August. Participants can choose between two distances to paddle the Ohio while it’s closed to motorized traffic, making the event accessible to paddlers of all skill levels. The 9-mile paddle ends with a Finish Line Festival, featuring music by The Sunburners, food trucks and MadTree beer, at Gilday Recreation Complex in Riverside. For a shorter adventure, the 4.5-mile Paddlefest MINI finishes at the Public Landing in Downtown Cincinnati. Both paddling routes start at Schmidt Recreation Complex, 2944 Humbert Ave. in the East End.
Friday night’s pre-party, the Outdoors for All Expo, is free and open to the public. The event has grown to feature some 50 exhibitors, including local parks, outdoor outfitters, adventure experts and environmentally minded organizations. With hands-on demos, live music, raffles, MadTree beer and food trucks, there are activities to engage attendees of all ages. This year’s Expo runs from 4-9:30 p.m. at Schmidt Recreation Complex. Organizations interested in exhibiting can apply on the event website.
New to the weekend is a kayak bass fishing tournament spanning both Friday and Saturday that lets anglers compete for prizes and bragging rights while fishing any of three tributaries of the Ohio: Great Miami River, Licking River or Little Miami River. More details on the tournament will be shared on the event website.
For Saturday morning’s Paddlefest, participants can use their own boats, or they can rent them with advance registration. (Those wishing to rent a boat should sign up early: Rental boats are limited and sell out every year.)
Registration for the paddle is now open. Early bird pricing (available through April 30) for the 9-mile paddle is $50 for adults; $25 for youth (17 and under); the 4.5-mile paddle is $45 for adults; $20 for youth. Full pricing details are available on the Paddlefest website.
Paddlefest is organized by and benefits Adventure Crew, a nonprofit that connects city teens in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky with nature and each other through engaging outdoor adventures.
“Every dollar we raise through Paddlefest supports that mission,” Wise said. “So by signing up to paddle on Saturday or buying raffle tickets and a beer on Friday, you’re helping us get city teens who might not otherwise have access to nature out on adventures like hiking, biking and of course, paddling. It’s a great way to share your love of the outdoors while having a great time in the process.”
Paddlefest organizers are currently accepting sponsorships for the event.
About Ohio River Paddlefest
The Ohio River Paddlefest is recognized as the nation’s largest paddling celebration, with 2,000 participants traveling up to nine miles through downtown Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky in canoes, kayaks and other human-powered craft. Established in 2001, the event, which is held the first Saturday in August each year, is a project of Adventure Crew. For more information, visit www.ohioriverpaddlefest.org.
About Adventure Crew
Adventure Crew is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting city teens in Greater Cincinnati with nature and each other through engaging outdoor adventures. Founded in 2013, the nonprofit now serves all Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) high schools, seventh and eighth graders in select CPS elementary schools, and six schools in Northern Kentucky – a total of 25 schools and a roster of nearly 1,000 students per year. Through challenging monthly adventures, city teens develop the courageous spirit to step out of their comfort zone and discover new worlds – outside in nature and inside themselves. This deep connection to nature will set a positive course for their lives – and help create the next generation of environmental stewards. For more information, visit www.adventurecrew.org.