Ohio Citizen Action

Paddlefest fills river with kayaks, canoes

Brewster Rhoads has grown event into the largest in the country

Paddlefest promoter Brewster Rhoads with his kayak. / The Enquirer/Michael E. Keating

CINCINNATI — “…Rhoads has another thrill in store this weekend on the Ohio: the sight of more than 2,000 Paddlefest participants in kayaks and canoes. Organizers say it’s the largest paddling event of its kind in the country.

Rhoads is chair and founder of the event, which is a project of the Ohio River Way, a nonprofit that promotes and celebrates the recreational benefits of the river.

Now in its 10th year, Paddlefest has grown from a one-day event with 285 paddlers to a three-day celebration for thousands. A Kids Outdoor Adventure Expo is expected to draw 3,000 young people on Thursday, followed by the Ohio River Music & Outdoor Festival on Friday. Saturday features the traditional float down the Ohio from Coney Island to the Public Landing.

Rhoads, a Philadelphia native who lives in Mount Washington, calls Paddlefest a ‘paddling pep rally.’ It’s one reason, he says, that Cincinnati can claim the title of ‘paddling capital of the U.S.'”

— John Johnston, Cincinnati Enquirer

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Brewster was Cincinnati Director for Ohio Citizen Action in the 1980’s.

Please stop by the Ohio Citizen Action booth at Paddlefest this weekend!