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Chestertown Riverfest
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Chestertown Riverfest

When: 9/26/2015
Where: South Cross Street
Chestertown, Maryland 
United States
Contact: Nancy Carter

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Greetings paddlers.

I'm writing to tell you about an event that we think you and your fellow paddlers will want to know about. The Event is Riverfest in Chestertown Maryland. The date is September 26 and festivities begin at noon.

Activities include:

Kayak, Canoe and Cardboard Boat Races

A canoe and kayak sprint will lead off the water events, with separate heats for different length kayaks, tandem kayaks and canoes, and outrageous trophies for winners. Races begin at noon and paddlers must register in advance. Registrants receive RiverFest T-shirts, race numbers and admission to the Paddlers’ Poker Run. They’ll also receive a guide to the many beautiful paddling routes that grace Maryland’s upper Eastern Shore. Paddlers can peruse the Chestertown's historic waterfront and explore the picturesque creeks that flank it.

Washington College Center for Environment & Society will hosts it’s ninth annual cardboard boat race, a popular event that is open to everyone. The short, spirited and often soggy race features a variety of clever and whimsical “boats” that occasionally make it to the finish line. This rambunctious crowd-pleaser is as much fun for spectators as for the racers. 

The Paddlers’ Poker Run is open to all registered paddlers. Participating “card sharks” follow a course to five different kiosks along the river, from which each paddler takes a sealed envelope containing a playing card. Once back, paddlers open their envelopes to see who drew the winning hand for the cash prize. There will be a second chance in a "draw poker" game as players can trade in up to three cards for new cards and get one more chance to win cash.

Sun, Sail & Paddle Expo

See what’s new in environmentally friendly watercrafts — from kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddle boards to windsurfers, personal sail boats and electric launches. The Expo will be on the waterfront at Wilmer Park, situated by the start-finish line for the boat races. Exhibitors from around the region will display their watercrafts, and the park’s kayak ramp will enable exhibitors to offer demos to guests. 

The Expo will also feature handmade boats with a large exhibition area for wooden boat builders to display their crafts. The exhibition will include handcrafted scale models. 

Visitors will enjoy engaging displays of fine arts and crafts and plein air painters will be on hand capturing the festivities on canvas. RiverArts’ popular KidSPOT will provide fun activities for youngsters to play, create and explore. 

A variety of food and drink will be available at the park throughout the event along with live music.

The Grand Finale!

At sunset the river will come to life in the glow of a stunning, solar-powered, floating sculpture designed by renowned wood sculptor and furniture designer Vicco Von Voss. Organic, dynamic and beautiful, the inspired design will light up as the sun goes down.

SANDBOX is funding the sculpture and involving Washington College students in its creation. The river and boardwalk are sure to be crowded with spectators for the lighting. There will be music, taste treats, libations and displays on shore for the illumination celebration.

For More Information and to Register for Events 

Please visit or call 410-778-7370 

Chestertown RiverFest is a celebration of Chestertown’s scenic waterfront, our history and heritage and our recent designation as an Arts & Entertainment district. RiverFest is a production of Chestertown RiverArts, Washington College’s Center for the Environment and Society, and SANDBOX, Washington College’s initiative for creative collaboration between art and science with a focus on the natural environment.


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Founded in 1880, The American Canoe Association (ACA) is a national nonprofit organization serving the broader paddling public by providing education related to all aspects of paddling; stewardship support to help protect paddling environments; and sanctioning of programs and events to promote paddlesport competition, exploration and recreation.

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