Henry County’s annual outdoor recreation showcase, Smith River Fest, will be back and more exciting than ever on Saturday, August 20 at the Crown Holdings Festival Grounds at the Monogram Foods Sports Complex.
For many, the annual outdoors festival is not only a summer tradition, but also a highlight. The Smith River Fest aims to be a celebration of all things outdoors that make Martinsville – Henry County an outdoor recreation hotspot. MHC boasts the beautiful Smith River and gorgeous Philpott Lake as well as the Smith River Blueway and the Philpott Blueway. On any given day, there are ample opportunities to get outdoors, get active, and enjoy nature. Smith River Fest is a day to learn more about many of these amenities while having a fun opportunity to experience them. This year’s Smith River Fest is presented by Sovah Health – Martinsville.
Both admission and parking are free for this event.
In past years, thousands of guests from more than 10 different states and 52 Virginia communities have participated in the fest, and organizers expect those numbers to continue to grow. Highlighted events for the 13th annual event include the Helgramite Hustle 5K Mud Run presented by Martinsville Eyecare Center, the 4.8-mile long River Race, the Paddling Demo Pool presented by the US Army Recruitment Center, live music by local band Andy & Jake.
Activity areas will be spread throughout the festival allowing guests to try out various forms of recreation, including:
- The Paddling Demo Pool, presented by the US Army Recruitment Center, will offer inexperienced boaters the opportunity to feel what it is like to get on a kayak, while having the security of a shallow pool beneath them, instead of the intimidation of the depth of a river. This will allow many first-timers to get a feel for the basic of paddling and maneuvering through water. (Free)
- The Casting Pool, presented by Light Christian Counseling, will allow guests to learn casting techniques for trout fishing. Volunteers from Smith River Trout Unlimited, Casting for Recovery, and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will facilitate lessons. (Free)
- The Kids Cycle Station, presented by the Center for Pediatric Therapies, will allow youth ages 12 and under to challenge themselves to a biking obstacle course while learning about bike safety. Volunteers from the Henry County Bike Club and Martinsville Police Department will facilitate the rides. (Free)
- The Mobile Bike Barn, presented by the Martinsville YMCA, will allow guests to borrow a bike to ride around the festival. (Free)
- The Kids Zone, presented by the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Blue Ridge, will include multiple bounce houses and up-close encounters from the animals of Infinity Acres Petting Ranch. (Free)
- The Climbing Wall, presented by King Kidz, is always a popular attraction. (Free)
- The Hammock Village, presented by Harman Eye Center, will provide a fun way to relax during the festival. (Free)
River Tubing, presented by Henry County Parks & Recreation, offers you the ability to check out a tube and life jacket and enjoy an approximately 30-minute ride on the cool and beautiful Smith River. (Free)
Fly Tying Demos, presented by Smith River Trout Unlimited, will showcase the fishermen practicing their craft throughout the day. (Free)
Yoga by the River, presented by Audra Elliott with Yoga Pop Danville, will start promptly at 10:00 AM. Participants are asked to bring their own yoga mat. (Free)
The Water Gun Battle Station, presented by Henry County Parks & Recreation, will offer kids, and kids at heart, the opportunity to have a ball and cool off.
The Boat Race is open to kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddle boards (SUPs). Enter as a team or individual, racing or recreation.
The Helgramite Hustle Mud Run, presented by Martinsville Eyecare Center, is a muddy 5K featuring a series of mud pits and obstacles to climb over, crawl through, and slide under.
For paddlers’ convenience there will be free river shuttles all day long offered by Henry County Parks and Recreation. Two shuttle buses will stop at the Marrowbone Creek and Mitchell Bridge river accesses, and the other two shuttle busses will stop at the South Martinsville and Frith Road river accesses. A detailed map of shuttle routes can be seen at SmithRiverFest.com. Everyone who enjoys the river during Smith River Fest is encouraged to paddle responsibly and must wear a life jacket.
There will also be a variety of entertainment options throughout the day at the Crown Amphitheatre, including:
Live Music, presented Blue Ridge Bank & Press Glass, will feature DJ WHAT! in the morning, and Live Music by Andy & Jake in the afternoon. (Free)
A Magic Show presented by Joseph Young. (Free)
The Beer Garden, presented by Martinsville YMCA will feature a selection of beers from Lawrence Distributing.
The Blue Ridge Duck Race will feature approximately 15,000 ducks racing their way down the Smith River.
Plus, there will be a variety of vendors and food trucks set up to round out your day.
The event, founded in 2008, is designed to promote recreational opportunities along the Smith River and in the surrounding region.
Smith River Fest is collaborative effort between Henry County Parks & Recreation, Martinsville-Henry County EDC’s Tourism Division, Monogram Foods Smith River Sports Complex, Dan River Basin Association, and the Martinsville-Henry County YMCA. Vendor applications, race registrations and additional festival information can be found at SmithRiverFest.com or by calling (276) 634-4640.