Paddlers of all ages and skill levels will take to the water on Saturday, June 11, for the 9th Annual Back to the Chattahoochee River Race and Festival. The race course begins at Garrard Landing Park on Holcomb Bridge Road and ends at Riverside Park in Roswell, the site of the free family-friendly festival, music and awards presentation. Organized and presented by Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper (UCR) in partnership with the National Park Service, Fulton County, and the city of Roswell, the event is organized to celebrate the Chattahoochee and foster a sense of community around our river.

The race begins at 9 a.m. and includes open and recreational categories, various age divisions, solo and tandem canoe divisions, as well as kayak and sea kayak divisions. Paddlers wanting a competitive race will traverse the 10-mile course, while recreational paddlers will take the eight-mile course. Both include exciting Class I-II rapids and conclude at Riverside Park. Timing officials will be provided by Georgia Canoeing Association. Advanced registration is available through June 7 for the fee of $40 for solo boats and $60 for tandem boats. After June 7, on-site registration costs are $50 for solo and $70 for tandem boats; available based on capacity.

The festival in Riverside Park will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and  free to the public. Racers and others will enjoy live music from Donna Hopkins and Gareth Asher, a river-gear swap, Riverside Park’s “spray ground,” face painting, balloon artists, a “sprayground,” and vendors with an array of environmental exhibits.

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Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.