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Friday July 25, 2014

For outdoor and nature enthusiasts, the highlight of the summer is just around the corner. Smith River Fest will be held on Saturday, August 9th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Smith River Sports Complex, located at 1000 Irisburg Road in Axton, Virginia. Both admission and parking are free for this event.

Last year more than 2,400 guests from 14 different states participated in the event and festival organizers expect those numbers to grow. Highlights for the upcoming 7th annual event include a 4.8-mile long river race, the Helgramite Hustle 5K Mud Run and the Martinsville Speedway Blue Ridge Duck Race 5000.

Guests at the event will have the opportunity to participate in hands-on outdoor experiences that include stand-up paddleboard (SUP) demonstrations, casting demonstrations, a 2.5-mile guided canoe/kayak ride, bicycle rides and the Smith River Experience which allows first-time paddlers the opportunity to take a short canoe ride.

Performances during the event include the Virginia All Steel Orchestra, a chainsaw carving demonstration and Small Town Orchestra. A dozen different food vendors will be on hand along with wineries and a beer garden. Shaded seating for dining will also be offered at the festival this year.

A variety of vendors selling outdoor gear, crafts and gifts will be present, as well as informational displays. Children can enjoy the bounce houses, climbing wall and petting ranch which are all offered at no charge.

The event, founded in 2008, is designed to promote recreational opportunities along the Smith River and in the surrounding region. According to Jennifer Doss, Director of Tourism for Martinsville-Henry County and festival co-founder, "We are fortunate to have many high-quality recreational amenities in our area, and Smith River Fest is the perfect way to showcase them. We are delighted to see this event grow in popularity each year so that more residents and visitors can discover the wonders of nature and the outdoors."

Full Event Schedule


8:30-9:30 a.m. River Race Registration (At Festival Entrance)
9:00 a.m. Festival & Vendor Booths Open
9:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. Casting Demos by Smith River Trout Unlimited
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Climbing Wall & Bounce Houses Open
9:00-11:00 a.m. B99 Super Country Live Remote
9:15-10:00 a.m. Stand-Up Paddle Board (SUP) Demos by Blue Ridge Outdoors
9:30 a.m. Last River Race Shuttle Departs
9:45 a.m. Chainsaw Carving Demo by Woodchuck Woodcarvings
9:45 a.m. Safety Meeting at Starting Line (Mandatory for River Racers)
10:00 a.m. River Race Begins (4.8 miles)
10:00 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. Helgramite Hustle Mud Run Registration (At Festival Entrance)
10:30 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. River Racers Arrive at Finish Line
11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Beer Garden Open
11:30 a.m. VASO Steel Drum Band Performs
11:30 a.m. Guided 2.5 mile Paddle Trip with Three River Outfitters
12:30 p.m. Chainsaw Carving Demo by Woodchuck Woodcarvings
1:00 p.m. Martinsville Speedway Blue Ridge Duck Race 5000 Begins
2:00 p.m. Helgramite Hustle Mud Run Begins
2:00-5:00 p.m. The Smith River Experience (Free Canoe Rides for Families)
2:00-4:00 p.m. Live Music by Small Town Orchestra
3:00 p.m. 2.5 mile Group Paddle Trip with Blue Ridge Ski & Outing Club
4:00 p.m. Awards Ceremony


Smith River Fest is collaborative effort between Henry County Parks & Recreation, Martinsville-Henry County Tourism, Smith River Sports Complex, Dan River Basin Association, Activate MHC, Martinsville Parks & Recreation and Boys & Girls Club of the Blue Ridge. Vendor applications, race registrations and additional festival information can be found at SmithRiverFest.com or by calling 276.403.5695.

The mission of the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation is to create new job opportunities and expand the tax base for the area. The organization strives to support and develop local industry, as well as market Martinsville-Henry County globally as an exceptional place to live, work and play.

The EDC is a public-private partnership between the City of Martinsville, Henry County, the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce, the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber's Partnership for Economic Growth (C-PEG) and the Harvest Foundation of the Piedmont.

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