In just two weeks, paddlers from all over the continent will flock to Revelstoke for Revy Paddle Fest for some music, yoga, and –most importantly– paddling.
The Revelstoke Paddlesport Association is hosting its first –and hopefully annual– Paddle Fest from Aug. 11–13. The event isn’t exactly the first of its kind in Revelstoke, but it is the latest iteration in a long line of paddling events that were on hold due to the pandemic. Revelstoke Paddling Association president/event-organizer Katrina Van Wijk spoke about what the schedule will look like over the weekend and what it means to paddling in Revelstoke.
The event will start on Friday (Aug. 11) with registration at 3 p.m. at Powerhouse Road Park, which will also be the festival grounds. Pre-registration and festival tickets are available on the festival website. Van Wijk was excited at the prospect of getting to use the park as the staging area for the festival.
“Just an epic use of the space because it hasn’t really been used that much recently and it’s pretty cool to have it right downtown,” said Van Wijk.
The festival will get the events going with a team pinball race on the Illecillewaet River down to the Fourth St. Bridge at 5:30 p.m., which will start near the park, making for just a short walk for spectators seeking to take in the whitewater action.
The race will be followed by an opening day party at Craft Bierhaus at 7 p.m. The rest of the weekend’s schedule can be found on the festival’s website.
Although this is the first year for the Revy Paddle Festival, its predecessor was the Jordan River Fest, which would –as the name suggests– happen on the opposite side of Revelstoke at the Jordan River. Van Wijk explained that this year’s festival was initially planned to take place on the Jordan, but with the hot weather and lack of rain, the water level is too low to paddle.
Although the relocation was a matter of a backup plan, Van Wijk explained that the organization had been trying to get an event on the lower section of the Illecillewaet for some time.
“I’ve been applying to do something in that area for years, and so to just get the ‘okay’ is like a huge win, and we’re really excited to be down there,” said Van Wijk.
The festival is inclusive to everyone. With a scholarship for BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ people funded by Silverwinds, the Revelstoke Paddlesports Association is trying to break down barriers and ensure everyone can enjoy paddlesports.
Van Wijk was particularly excited at the prospect of uniting two separate communities in Revelstoke.
“I’m just kind of stoked to join the two communities, the paddling community and the music community, in town,” said Van Wijk.
Along with several paddling events, the festival will also host seven different DJs, including popular UK artists Deekline. To pair with the music will be food trucks and a beer garden.
Van Wijk was looking forward to paddling colleagues attending the event from various places around the continent.
“It’s people that I don’t always see. So, I’m excited to show them Revy,” said Van Wijk, adding “I even think there’ll be international paddlers coming.”
Besides Van Wijk’s personal excitement, the Revelstoke Paddlesports Association president was also optimistic for what it could do for the sport, locally.
“It is kind of like an untapped piece of Revelstoke. We have such a huge skiing and biking community here, but we also have insane waterways,” said Van Wijk. “We do have lots of paddlers, but I think we can be more organized and attract even more.”
The festival is a step in the right direction of spreading the word and the water that Revelstoke has to offer.