IF YOU GO
• What: Ocoee Fest
• When: 1-11:45 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31; noon-11:45 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1
• Where: Adventures Unlimited, 522 U.S. 65, Ocoee, Tenn.
• Admission: $20 general, $25 VIP
• Website: www.ocoeefest.com
Saturday, Aug. 31
• 2-6 p.m. Red Brick Home Brew Tasting & Competition
• 6 p.m. The McNifficent 7
• 8 p.m. The Whistle Pigs
• 10 p.m. Kalob Griffin Band
Sunday, Sept. 1
• 2-7 p.m. Beer Olympics
• 6 p.m. Lon Eldridge
• 8 p.m. Matt Woods
• 10 p.m. Liquid Logic kayak raffle
• 10:30 p.m. SharkWeek
A new two-day festival celebrating boats, bands and beer has the Ocoee River as its backdrop.
Ocoee Fest, set for Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 31-Sept. 1, comes on the heels of two deaths on the river last weekend. In separate accidents, two women died after being thrown from group rafts in a stretch of Middle Ocoee rapids known as "Grizzly's."
Festival spokesman Ford Quarterman says whitewater enthusiasts are a close-knit community, and the loss is sobering for him and fellow organizers.
"It is on all of our minds," he says. "Our thoughts and prayers are definitely with those lost and their families. I'm sure we're going to have a moment of silence in remembrance."
Quarterman says that while Ocoee Fest is staged around the river, "we have a lot to offer that has nothing to do with the river. A lot of people won't even be going rafting."
Camping is included in the two-day ticket price, making Ocoee Fest a stay-and-play event. Activities are centered at rafting outfitter Adventures Unlimited. In addition to the world-class whitewater, the surrounding area boasts fishing and hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails for those who want to pursue other recreation during the weekend.
Quarterman and other organizers are from BBB Paddling, a group of outdoorsmen who frequent the Tallulah Gorge area in North Georgia. After successfully launching Tallulah Fest in 2011, they turned their attention to the Ocoee.
"We tried to identify how to put a unique twist on each event," he says. "With Tallulah Fest, it's a video competition. With Ocoee Fest, it's a home brew competition."
More than 30 brewers from across the Southeast are set to take part in the inaugural festival. Among the organizations represented are the Covert Hops Society from Atlanta, Barley Mob Brewers of Chattanooga, Binary Brew Works of Chattanooga, New London Brew Club of Snellville, Ga., and the Tallulah Home Brewers Guild.
Several vendors will provide concessions.
Providing the soundtrack for the Labor Day weekend celebration will be a lineup of local talent and regional touring bands, headlined by the Kalob Griffin Band. SharkWeek, The Whistle Pigs, Lon Eldridge, the McNifficent 7 and Matt Woods also will entertain.
While Saturday is devoted to the tasting contest, Sunday is highlighted by Beer Olympics. Anyone can sign up in teams of four to to compete in games such as beer pong, cornhole and "beersbie." Prizes will be awarded. You can sign up in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tickets are $20 and $25. The $5 upcharge on the VIP ticket buys a commemorative tasting glass. Raffle and door prizes will be awarded, including a grand prize of a Liquidlogic Freeride kayak.
Contact Lisa Denton at email@example.com or 423-757-6281.