Hatchet Creek Paddle Festival
Near Rockford, Alabama on Hatchet Creek
Roger Vines, County Extension Coordinator Coosa County Office
EVENT FULL ** REGISTRATION CLOSED
THIS EVENT HAS FILLED AS OF APRIL 22, 2013. REGISTRATION IS CLOSED.
Event will be two days (Saturday and Sunday). Start 8:00 am at hwy 280.
Hatchet Creek Festival Planned for May
The first Hatchet Creek Festival is planned for May 18 and 19. The festival will be a two- day float trip down Hatchet Creek with a campout on Saturday night. The Coosa County office of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System is spearheading the Hatchet Creek Festival project. There is a $25 per person registration fee. There is limited space available so pre-registration is required before May 8. Early registration is highly encouraged.
Registration will cover two meals, a Hatchet Creek Festival T-Shirt, camping and shuttle service.
The Festival will begin Saturday, May 18. Pre-registered participants will meet at the Highway 280 Bridge at 8:00 am and unload their boats, kayaks and camping gear. Their camping gear will be transported to the Dunnam’s Halfway Campsite. Drivers will move their vehicles to the take out point below the Highway 231 bridge. A shuttle will return drivers back to the Highway 280 launch site.
Saturday is a casual “at your own pace” float down to the halfway point and the campsite. After arrival, participants will set up camp. To fill the afternoon, there will be games and recreational activities such as horseshoes, Frisbees and volleyball. There will also be educational exhibits including woodcrafts, flint knapping and plant propagation. In addition, there is a fishing pond adjacent to the campsite. Porta-potties will be available at the site and drinking water provided.
The Saturday evening meal is a catfish and chicken finger dinner. After dinner, there will be guest speakers and live music. Any special dietary needs must be provided by the participants. The Coosa County Sheriff’s Department will be on hand throughout the event to provide security and assist with traffic management.
On Sunday morning, camping gear will be transported to the take out location at Highway 231. After breakfast, there will be a short devotion by Coach Bobby Jackson, who is a retired NFL football coach. Boat launch on Sunday morning should be underway no later than 9 a.m.
Kayak race on Sunday
For those who like competition, there will be a canoe and kayak race down to the take out. There will be cash awards for the first, second and third place finishes in both the canoe and kayak divisions. The race is optional. Many festival participants may prefer to just take a slow easy float and enjoy the blooming Cahaba Lilies along this stretch.
What to bring
It will be the participant’s responsibility to bring any snacks and drinks needed while on the water. Also every boater must agree to wear an approved personal floatation device and closed toe shoes. Other
items suggested include: change of clothes, towel, flashlight, first aid kit, camera, suntan lotion, hat and long sleeve shirt, and cotton gloves.
Camping gear should be just the basics such as tent or hammock, sleeping bag, mattress pad, and lawn chair. A small ice chest may be useful if you want extra food or drinks at the camp site. No alcohol please. This is a family event.
Safety is important. There will be safety paddlers in all groups with experienced boaters from the Alabama Scenic River Trail group to assist as needed. However floating on a creek through wooded inaccessible areas has inherent risks. Participants must assume all liability and sign a disclaimer risk statement. The Festival suggests a minimum age of 12 to participate.
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This popular northeast Alabama float was the brainchild of Extension Agent Roger Vines who did so much to popularize paddling in Coosa County before his retirement a few months ago. The momentum behind his efforts still rolls on like the Hatchet, though, and an organization has sprung up to carry the good times forward. Help them with the participation they deserve for a great time on this fine piece of water.
The Hatchet Creek Festival is an organized 2-day float open to the public on a limited basis on Coosa County’s Hatchet Creek in partnership with the Alabama Scenic River Trail. The float begins at US-280 Hwy Hatchet Creek Bridge and ends at a take-out point approximately ¼ mile west of US-231 Hwy Bridge with camping at the Half-way Campsite.
Participants provide their own canoes/kayaks, camping gear/tents, and personal flotation equipment (required on the water). The Festival provides transportation from the take-out point to the start point, transport of the camping equipment to and from the camp site, safety paddlers, meals Saturday evening and Sunday breakfast, music entertainment on Saturday night, a Festival T-shirt for each participant and other amenities such as porta-potties, hand-washing stations, games, fishing etc.
The festival is a family oriented event – no alcohol or pets permitted. In the past two years the Festival has drawn 80+ participants with 60+ canoes/kayaks each year. The Festival is scheduled for May 30-31 and will hopefully allow a view of the blooming of the Cahaba Lilies that abound on the creek.
The event is partially sponsored by a grant from Central Alabama Electric Cooperative. There is a registration fee of $40 per person and is limited to the first 100 paddlers.
To register, please email email@example.com to request a registration form.