GRAFTON—Adventure is making its way to the area, and if offering a little something for everyone.
The Grafton Adventure Club will be hosting the first-ever Tygart Lake Adventure Fest, on Saturday, September 16, at Tygart Lake.
The event is packed with fun-filled outdoor activities to get people out, up and moving, while bringing family and friends together at Tygart Lake.
The Adventure Fest will boast a Bass Fishing Tournament, for both motorized and nonmotorized boats, along with kayaks, shore fishing or bow fishing.
Registration for this tournament will open at 5:00 a.m., in the Tygart Lake Marina parking lot, with a mandatory meeting to follow at 5:45 a.m. The lines are scheduled to hit the water at 6:00 a.m. Fishermen and women will compete to snag the largest bass until 2:00 p.m.
Kids will also have the opportunity to be named top fisherman, in a youth tournament, sponsored by Leer Mine. Registration for youth, ages 0-12 and 13-15, will begin at 6:30 a.m., and a mandatory meeting will take place at 7:15 a.m. The youth tournament will wrap up at 10:00 a.m.
In addition, the event will also offer a triathlon for those daring enough to compete. The triathlon will consist of a kayaking trip, from Pleasant Creek to the Marina, a nine and a half mile ride and will finish out with a 5K cross-country run.
Those wishing to participate in the triathlon should register at 8:00 a.m., and must be present at Pleasant Creek at 9:00 a.m. to receive their race number. Racers will take their mark at approximately 10:00 a.m.
For those who aren’t up for a triathlon, but would still like to enjoy the thrill of a race, kayak, rowboat and canoe races will begin at 10:30 a.m., at Pleasant Creek. Racers need to register at 8:30 a.m., and make their way to Pleasant Creek to receive a number and to attend a mandatory meeting by 9:30 a.m.
Adventure Fest will also offer a Tandem kayak, two-person canoe, two-person raft and two-person row boat race, which will depart at 11:00 a.m., following a mandatory meeting, at 10:30 a.m.
If you want a chance to show off your balancing skills, a standup paddleboard race just might be the event for you. The number of entries will determine the number of heats for this race, which will begin with a meeting at 8:30 a.m.
The area’s youth will also have a chance to participate in kayak races and standup paddleboard races. Age groups for these events are 5-8, 9-12 and 13-15. Registration for both begins at 9:00 a.m. and kayakers will paddle off at 11:00 a.m., while the paddleboards leave shore at 1:15 p.m.
Those looking to enjoy a nice run can take part in the 5K cross-country run, which is open to all ages. The run is set to commence at 9:30 a.m.
A ticket is required to compete in these events. Tickets to be a part of all of the events are on sale now, until August 31, for $40 for an adult, and $20 for youth.
Single event tickets for an adult are $30 and youth are $15, until August 31. Single event tickets only cover one activity. Prices of single and all event tickets will increase beginning September 1, with an additional increase if purchased the day of the event.
A free cookout dinner is included with each ticket purchase. All proceeds from ticket sales will be used to develop outdoor activities around Tygart Lake and Tygart River.
If your looking for something out of the water, separate tickets for cornhole and volleyball tournaments are available as well, for $10.
Those wishing to partake in the cornhole tournament, should meet at the Tygart Lake Rec Center by 2:00 p.m., and must have a teammate in order to compete. Adult and youth tournaments will be available and bags will begin flying through the air, for both groups, at 3:00 p.m.
The volleyball tournament will also be held at the rec center. Teams must consist of at least five adult team members. Registration will open at 2:00 p.m.
In addition, free activities including yoga, a Gilligan’s island look-a-like contest, limbo, hiking, biking, kayak clinics, test paddling, lake tours and swimming at the beach area will all be offered.
The cookout and live music will be held following the conclusion of all events at the nature center.
According to one of the events coordinators and Adventure Club member, Bryan Smith, trophies will be awarded to winners of events, along with several other great prizes.
Smith shared that the idea for Adventure fest came about when he and Cathy Coontz began talking about a proposed water park at Tygart Lake.
“We were thinking of all of the various fundraisers we could do to raise the necessary money to make the water park happen,” he explained. “I asked Cathy what she thought about having a paddle fest at the lake, and she thought it was a great idea.”
He went on to reveal that later that same day, he was talking with Jim Browning, with the Tygart Lake State Park, when the idea came up again, and others started throwing out additional ideas to do along with paddle fest.
“It became more than just paddling. The event had turned into a big adventure, that we decided to call Adventure Fest,” Smith said.
He then took the idea to All Aboard Grafton members, where everyone was on board with the idea. Smith spent the next several moths calling around to get events scheduled and sponsors on board.
Partners and sponsors for Adventure Fest include the Grafton Rotary Club, All Aboard Grafton, Project HOP2E, P.A.T.C.H Coalition, Taylor County Collaborative Family Resource Network, Taylor County Starting Points, The Tygart Water Shed, The Tygart Lake State Park Foundation, The Grafton-Taylor County Health Department, The US Army Corps of Engineers, The Taylor County EMS, Grafton Fire Department, Flemington Fire Department, Taylor County Sheriffs Department, Grafton City Police, Barbour County EMS and Fire department, Dunham’s Sporting Goods, Try This WV, WV Community Development Hub , WVU Extension, Bill Henderson, Jeanie Smith, Mary Shuttlesworth, Lynne Whitescarver, Jeff Kresch, Phil and Cheryl Kelly and Jennifer Eskridge.
“We have such a wonderful opportunity here in Grafton,” Smith expressed. “By capitalizing on these potential opportunities around Tygart Lake State Park, Valley Falls State Park and the Tygart River, along with our local, national and international history, we are sitting on a gold mine waiting to be found and invested in!”
For tickets to Adventure Fest, or for more information please contact Bryan Smith at 304-709-0164.