Ohio River Paddlefest returns for 21st 12 months August 6 advantages Journey Crew; pre-Outside for All Expo


The Ohio River Paddlefest returns to the Ohio River for the 21st year on Saturday, August 6th.

“We are excited to once again host paddlers to this outstanding community event, the largest paddling festival in the country,” said Miriam Wise, Director of Support and Engagement for Adventure Crew, which produces Paddlefest. “With two distances to choose from, the event is accessible to paddlers of all skill levels.”

(Photo by Ohio River Paddlefest)

Interested participants should register in advance for the traditional Paddlefest 9-mile Paddlefest or the 4.5-mile Paddlefest MINI which has been added in 2021.

Conceived by friends who wanted to paddle together, the first Ohio River Paddlefest took place in 2001 with 275 paddlers. It has since grown into the country’s largest paddling festival, drawing around 2,000 paddlers to float down the Ohio River on the first Saturday in August. Paddle is booked by a pre-party on Friday night and a finish line festival after paddling on Saturday.

Friday night’s pre-party, the Outdoors for All Expo, is free and open to the public. It’s a celebration of all things outdoors, featuring exhibits and hands-on demonstrations from local parks, outdoor outfitters, adventure experts and environmentally conscious organizations. live music from The Tillers, Tracy Walker and Gabbard & Co.; local beer from MadTree Brewing; several food trucks; and a raffle for great outdoor prizes. The expo will be held on August 5 from 4pm to 9:30pm at the Schmidt Recreation Complex, the location where Paddlefest kicked off on Saturday. Visit www.ohioriverpaddlefest.org for more details.

On Saturday, both paddle routes begin at the Schmidt Recreation Complex, 2944 Humbert Ave. in the East End. The morning begins with Paddlefest racing at 7:00am. Recreational paddlers can continue to launch until the dock closes at 8:30am. The 4.5-mile Paddlefest MINI finishes at the public landing pad in downtown Cincinnati while the 9-mile paddle continues at Gilday Recreation Complex, 3540 Southside Ave. in Riverside.

Participants can use their own boats or rent a kayak by prior arrangement. Rental boats are limited and sell out before the event every year. Those traveling to Gilday can enjoy the Finish Line Festival after the paddle with music from The Sunburners, food trucks and MadTree beer. The festival ends at 2 p.m

Registration for the 9-mile paddle is $65 for adults; $25 for youth (age 17 and under); the 4.5-mile paddle is $60 for adults; $20 for youth. Prices go up on August 1st. Full pricing details are available on the Paddlefest website.

Paddlefest is organized by and supports Adventure Crew, a non-profit organization that connects urban teens in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky with nature and each other through immersive outdoor adventures.

“Funds raised through Paddlefest help us get more city youth outdoors for fun activities like paddling,” Wise said. “So not only is Paddlefest a great time, it also allows attendees to support a great cause – sharing their love of the outdoors with teenagers who might not otherwise have access.”

St. Elizabeth Healthcare returns as Presenting Sponsor of Paddlefest in 2022. Event organizers are currently accepting additional sponsorships. Visit www.ohioriverpaddlefest.org/sponsor for more information.

Adventure Crew