Every year on the second weekend of October, kayakers from as far north as Quebec City, Canada and as far south as Asheville, NC converge on the Moose River in upstate NY for the annual Moose River Festival. An organized release of the dam controlled river which has a few different sections of really fun whitewater. Now its name is a bit of a misnomer as there isn’t much an organized festival anymore, just the final race of the King of New York (KONY) race series. But since its one of my favorite weekend kayaking get-togethers on the east coast, I wanted to take you on a quick step by step tour of what’s up with the Moose Fest and how to make the most out of it.
Step 1: Get there and check out everyone’s sweet ride
People drive from all over the East coast to get to Moose Fest. Many have epic camper van set-ups and it’s always worth taking a parking lot tour on at least one of the days to see everyone’s set up.
Step 2: Get a good night sleep
There are lots of motel options in the town of Old Forge; camping can be cold this time of year but there are options if you are into that. There are also Air B’n’B options in the town of Old Forge and these are worth a look, but plan ahead on those since they go quick.
Step 3: Get a good breakfast
It’s pretty much a tradition that we eat breakfast at Keyes Pancake house. There are other options too, but every year that I can remember being at the Moose fest I have eaten breakfast here. Try the Breakfast burrito, it’s my favorite. #not sponsors of this post!
Step 4: Get on the river and try to stay slightly ahead of the crowd
You don’t need to get an early start, not many people do. But to get the most out of the weekend you are going to want to stay slightly ahead of the pack, otherwise you are going to be bogged down with a lot of people all over the river.
Step 5: Have an epic day on the river and watch some of the craziness happening around you.
If you followed step 4 you will have the best opportunity to watch everything on the river from flocks of rafts and open canoes sending the Agers waterfall, to near misses with trees…
And the final stage of the KONY race zip past you at high speed. You will have a chance to see it all. Plus you will enjoy one of upstate NY’s finest runs with everything from fun boofs to sweet slides, and more entertaining rapids than I can keep track of.
Step 6: Do some Tail Gating.
Once you have paddled as much as you can, there is plenty of opportunity to catch up with other paddlers you haven’t seen for a while, or make a ton of new friends whilst enjoying some of NY’s great micro brews or other non-alcoholic beverages. But don’t forget there is still a 20 minute drive back into old forge so be responsible.
Step 7: Be social
Saturday night there is a super fun get together at the Mountain Man store in town; a great opportunity to socialize with all the people you didn’t get to see on the water. There is a raffle with some great prizes, and they announce the race results and the overall King Of NY series winners. Congrats to Pat Keller who won the Men’s series and Erin Savage and Genevieve Royer who tied for first place in the Women’s.
Step 8: Get up and repeat steps 3-5 then drive home
And that is that. If you follow all these steps in 2018 I’m sure you will enjoy Moose Fest weekend as much as I do.