ERWIN, TENN., (April 25th, 2022) — NoliFest returned to USA Raft Adventure Resort in full swing this past weekend after a 3-year hiatus. Paddlers, campers, and Onewheelers came out to celebrate water and life with live music, raft trips and dirt surfing.
Pictured above, Matt Moses tells paddlers of the Beat Nightfall Race, "You're all winners!" These words summarize the feeling of community at USA Raft Adventure Resort.
In 2019, floods changed plans for NoliFest leaving guests on grounds to enjoy fun times by the Nolichucky River or blocked out from the festy fun altogether. Then, with concerns during the global pandemic and keeping guests' safety a priority at USA Raft- NoliFest was canceled for 2020 and 2021.
At Friday evening's Beat Nightfall Race, the crowd cheered on paddlers as they crossed the finish line at the take-out, proving the great return of NoliFest 2022 a success. It was like one big family reunion bringing together Nolichucky traditionalists along with guests who were experiencing the festival for their first time.
Lodging was booked well in advance for the festival weekend at this premier adventure resort. Guests were able to enjoy some of East Tennessee's newest unique lodging experiences along the banks of the Nolichucky River.
Gabby recently inquired to join the team as a raft guide trainee and did not hesitate to jump right in and help add some finishing touches to the new Noli Loft rentals on-site. Her spirit and hard work, along with the entire USA Raft team, are what ignite the magical experiences that happen here.
Not only did paddlers come out to celebrate their love for the great outdoors, but a new tribe was caught roaming the grounds around the Nolichucky River. Onewheelers.
One of USA Raft's own, Caleb Scalf, showed professional Onewheelers Noah Bild and Finn Holcomb some of the new tracks being developed around the property. These Onewheel athletes are raising the bar for the sport, and Noah's mom Traci was out riding alongside her son and encouraging him to improve his skills. If you haven't tried it yet or are looking to buy, the resort offers demos and private lessons and sells Onewheels at the new Red Banks Outpost location.
This year's festival would not have been possible without the hardworking team members at USA Raft Adventure Resort and sponsors for this year's event. Learn more about USA Raft Adventure Resort here, and happy paddling (and Onewheel) season!
JOHNSON CITY, TENN., (August 27th, 2021) — After canceling plans in 2020 due to the pandemic, the third annual Meet the Mountains Festival returned to Johnson City, Tennessee, this August to invite folks to come outside and discover outdoor recreation opportunities and learn about programs in the region from local vendors.
Johnson City, Tennessee
“There’s no reason to be bored in Northeast Tennessee, especially if outdoor recreation is something that you like to do. There’s literally something for everybody here,” said Kayla Carter in 2018, when organizing the first-ever annual Meet the Mountains Festival in Johnson City, Tennessee.
The Meet the Mountains Festival took place this August 20th and 21st. Since 2018, the Appalachian Highlands region has seen a rise in growth of outdoor recreation of all kinds: new biking trails, talk of a whitewater park, and new rec shops and entrepreneurs.
SORBA Tri-Cities hosted a bike skills set-up on festival grounds for participants to come out and test their demo fleet, as they had in previous years. This is a great way for kids to build confidence and try out the sport, especially if it's their first time!
Samm Keys, this year's MTM Festival Director, was tasked with navigating plans for the festival around the pandemic. By expanding the music talent (Uprooted featuring Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root) out to King Commons, this allowed for much more space for festival goers to spread out and Meet the Mountains in a safe, outdoors atmosphere.
The festival also promoted their first online auction this year, where donors like USA Raft Adventure Resort and Trophy Maker Fly Fishing, and several others, contributed items up to bid that would support NETREP. Any Meet the Mountains Festival product or event goes toward NETREP's Outdoor Development Foundation. The foundation's mission is to foster stewardship, education, infrastructure, and economy in Northeast Tennessee.
The festival had over 50 vendors this year with an eclectic mix of local artisans like Tessa Stacy of Wildflower Collective, as well as regional legends like the Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association. Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium also made an appearance on grounds this year to celebrate their 50th anniversary!
Fun For All
Folks came out to support the third annual MTM Festival in a family-friendly atmosphere promoting health and well-being by getting outside and learning about all the opportunities in our region. From whitewater boating and mountain biking to Boy Scouts programs and frisbee dogs, the feeling of community in Johnson City feels stronger than ever!
Send Me On My Way
Friday night wrapped up with some dancing and musical talent from Uprooted featuring Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root.
Vendors, volunteers, festy goers, dogs, kids, and everyone showed up this year to Meet the Mountains and support the community here in The Appalachian Highlands.
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