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11th Annual Back to the Chattahoochee River Race & Festival



Saturday, June 15, 2013

Garrard Landing Park and Riverside Park, Roswell

9 a.m. (race), 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (festival)





Paddlers of all ages and skill levels will take to the water on Saturday, June 15, for the 11th Annual Back to the Chattahoochee River Race & Festival.

Organized and presented by Chattahoochee Riverkeeper (CRK) in partnership with the National Park Service and the city of Roswell, the event celebrates the Chattahoochee and foster a sense of community around the river that serves nearly 4 million Georgians and 70 percent of metro Atlantans.

The RACE begins at 9 a.m. at Garrard Landing Park on Holcomb Bridge Road and includes competitive and recreational categories for Kayaks, Canoes and Stand Up Paddle Boards. This 8-mile course includes exciting Class I-II rapids and concludes at Riverside Park, the site of the FREE family-friendly festival, music and awards presentation. Shuttles are provided from Riverside back to Garrard so that you may retrieve your car. Registration is open through June 11.

The FESTIVAL, held at Roswell’s Riverside Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., is FREE and family friendly. Racers and others will enjoy LIVE music plus an array of exhibits that include local artisans and farmers market vendors. For the kids: Frisbee dog demonstration, face painting, balloon artists and other family-friendly activities. Click here to see a list of vendors.
Our power-packed music lineup: Headliner Jimmy Hall and Friends, featuring the front man of Georgia Music Hall of Fame inductee Wet Willie of “Keep on Smilin’” fame. Also onstage will be the Women of Rock trio of Caroline Aiken, Diane Durrett and Donna Hopkins, as well as Music Matters “Rock U” Bands.
Kid-friendly activities include appearances by Captain Planet and One More Generation’s Bag Monster, Georgia Disc Dogs, and zombie face-painting (Professor Morte, “Atlanta’s Horror Host.”) Learn more about our activities here.
Awards will be presented in all categories at the conclusion of the race, including awards for Best Costume and Best Boat Decoration. The race also includes a Team Challenge as a way to build pride, morale and camaraderie among groups such as companies, schools, and clubs. As a special treat for racers only, paddlers will be greeted at the end of the course by the SweetWater Beer Barge. Paddlers can enjoy sodas, water, or a SweetWater brew (for patrons 21 and over) before going ashore.

Advanced online registration is available April 19 through June 11 for the fee of $40 for solo boats and $60 for tandem boats. After June 11, onsite registration costs are $50 for solo and $70 for tandem boats and will be available based on capacity. All registered paddlers will receive a gift bag, a race T-shirt, a boxed lunch, and a one-year membership in CRK.
If you’d like to help out as a volunteer, register here.
FESTIVAL SCHEDULE 10 a.m. • Festival Opens! Enjoy the Exhibitors and Activities. See list here.

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. • Music Matters “Rock U” Bands Music Matters has developed an innovative band program which takes music education to unimaginable decibels. The Music Matters Rock U program allows young musicians to join a band, compose music, learn and perform in an organized environment here at Music Matters. The program is designed to incorporate musical instruction while allowing each musician to experience the excitement and thrill of performing in front of a live audience at a performance venue in downtown Atlanta.

11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. • Women of Rock featuring Caroline Aiken, Donna Hopkins, Diane Durrett This trio of Atlanta singer-songwriters features: Caroline Aiken – Independent to the bone with seven CDs, and with a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Folk CD in 2006, Caroline Aiken has performed numerous times to benefit thousands of causes, and has played thousands of shows in her 40-plus years of touring at home and abroad. Writing, producing shows, festivals, theaters, and series, Caroline has also served 12 years as Entertainment Director for the Atlanta Dogwood Festival.

Donna Hopkins – Hopkins is the real deal. Born and raised on an Alabama farm, Donna witnessed hardship first-hand, channeling it into the soulful music that she creates and performs. Music runs in her family; her mother performed rock and roll in go-go boots and mini-skirts and her grandfather was a fine musician in his own right. Following in their footsteps, Donna is a consummate seasoned performer with many songs and performances under her belt; her own daughter, India Hopkins, is a talented young singer/songwriter who is carrying on the family musical tradition. Georgia Music Magazine calls Donna Hopkins a “genuine triple threat” due to her prowess as a singer, songwriter and guitarist. In addition to her other talents, Donna also wears the producer’s hat, working with and developing up-and-coming talent in the Atlanta area.

Diane Durrett – “She’s good. She’s damn good.” Sting’s summation of his duet with singer songwriter Diane Durrett speaks for anyone who’s ever heard her perform. A Memphis reporter once wrote that Diane’s performance was so powerful that “If you don’t go see her she may just come see you!” With a blend of raw soulful vocals, sultry tones and strong original songs Durrett has sung with Sting, The Indigo Girls, Gregg Allman, Chuck Leavell (Rolling Stones) and Peter Stroud (Sheryl Crow). Durrett has opened shows for Tina Turner, Faith Hill, Little Feat, Delbert McClinton and Derek Trucks. In 2010 she was chosen by Grammy award winning producer Brendan O’Brien to record supporting vocals on Faith Hill’s upcoming single.

Noon to 1 p.m. • Rocking Redbirds Unplugged at the boat takeout.

1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. • Race results announced!

1:45 p.m. to 3 p.m. Jimmy Hall and Friends – The lead singer and harmonica player for the Southern rock group, Wet Willie, co-founded the band in 1970. Wet Willie scored a string of his in the 1970s and ‘80s, including the 1974 classic, “Keep on Smilin’.” Hall scored his own hit in 1980 with the single “I’m Happy that Love Has Found You. He also had a hit in 1982 with “Fool For Your Love,” and in 1985 sang lead vocals on Jeff Beck’s album “Flash,” and won a Grammy Award for a Grammy award for the performance.
Proceeds go to support CRK’s mission to protect and preserve the Chattahoochee River system for the people and wildlife that depend upon it. Recycling provided by City of Roswell. Please remember to recycle at the festival!

Become a Sponsor! With the continued threats our river faces, CRK needs your support more than ever. If you are interested in sponsoring this event, please contact Tammy Bates at

Interested in exhibiting? Contact Logan Vaughn for more information and to register.


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