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Active Life: Fun on the Water

Mar 10, 2020 01:53PM ● By Tom Brandes. Photos by Herb Swanson.
Past and current members of Dartmouth College’s Ledyard Canoe Club, students from several other colleges, and many others will gather April 23 to 26 for Riverfest 2020, an annual celebration of paddle sports featuring two whitewater races. Riverfest began in 2009 and has followed the same format of races and events for the past five years. At this year’s event, Ledyard Canoe Club is also celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding.

“Riverfest is an opportunity for current club members and club alumni to celebrate the paddling we’ve done in the last year and in the last 100 years,” says Gabriella (Gab) Smith, one of two Riverfest coordinators for Ledyard’s 2020 Riverfest. “Whether it’s a weekly two-hour whitewater or flat-water outing or a two-week trip, we all really enjoy being out on the water.”

Play, Learn, and Party
Riverfest activities will kick off on Thursday, April 23, with the Wild and Scenic Film Festival, the goal of which is to increase awareness of issues facing our rivers. The festival will include the screening of several conservation-themed short films shown in Loew Auditorium on the Dartmouth campus.

The Wild River Speaker Series on Friday afternoon will include talks by four distinguished speakers: Andrew Fisk, executive director of the Connecticut River Conservancy; Ron Watters, author of Never Turn Back: The Life of Whitewater Pioneer Walt Blackadar; Gail Lazaras, associate director of the Rivers of the Southern Appalachia and the Carolinas, American Rivers; and David Hamlin (’86), National Geographic filmmaker and Ledyard alumnus.

The annual Riverfest Party is also set for Friday because, after all, what would a kayaking festival be without a party? Free beer and cider for those over age 21, live music, and raffle prizes from the event’s sponsors will add to the the festive atmosphere before the event’s races over the next two days.

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