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.
Registration is $25 per person and all participants must register by May 8. All participants must be at least 12 years of age. Roger Vines, Coosa County Extension coordinator, says registration will cover two meals, a Hatchet Creek Festival T-Shirt, and camping and shuttle services. Call the Coosa County Extension Office at (256) 377-4713 or email Roger Vines at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. No registrations will be accepted by phone or email. Names will be added to the list of participants only after registration forms, signed liability statements and registration fees arrive at the Extension Office. The registration fee is non-refundable.
Saturday, May 18, participants will meet at 8 a.m. at the Highway 280 Bridge to unload their boats, kayaks and camping gear. 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 Hwy 280 launch site. Every boater must agree to wear an approved personal floatation device and closed toe shoes. No alcohol is allowed. This is a family event. Also, no pets are allowed.
It will be the participant's responsibility to bring any snacks and drinks needed while on the water. Other suggested items include: a change of clothes, towel, flashlight, first aid kit, camera, suntan lotion, insect repellent, a hat and long sleeve shirt, and cotton gloves. Camping gear should include 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.
Participants will float down to the halfway point and the campsite. After arrival, they will set up camp. Campsite activities include games and recreational activities such as horseshoes and volleyball. In addition, there is a fishing pond adjacent to the campsite. Drinking water will be provided. Porta-potties will also be available at the site.
For those who like competition, there will be an optional canoe and kayak race. There will be cash awards for the first, second and third place finishes in both the canoe and kayak divisions.
Saturday evening, a catfish and chicken finger dinner will be served. After dinner, there will be guest speakers and live music.
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. Festival participants will enjoy the rare, blooming Cahaba Lilies along this section of the creek.
Safety is important! The Coosa County Sheriff's Department will be on hand throughout the event to provide security and assist with traffic management. There also 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.
This project is funded through a Rural Alabama Initiative Grant, in cooperation with sponsors and landowners. Sponsors include The Alabama Cooperative Extension System,The Economic and Community Development Institute at Auburn University, The Weogufka Center Songwriters, the Coosa County Sheriff's Department, Commissioner Fred Brooks, Smooth Hits, Popeye's Chicken, the Charles Weldon Family, Tommy and Beverly Bass and Sally Holland.
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