Asheville Paddlefest returns on Sunday, May 6

Press release from Diamond Brand Outdoors:

Annual festival features free kayak and stand up paddleboard demos, live music and specials at Wild Wing Café, discounts and giveaways, nature-inspired crafts with the LEAF Easel Rider, and more

• Asheville Paddlefest offers the community a day to enjoy Lake Julian Park and get on the still waters for free courtesy of Diamond Brand Outdoors, Western North Carolina’s most trusted outdoor retailer.

• Festival moves out of the park interior to a newly expanded beach behind Wild Wing Café, allowing a larger footprint and accessible parking.

• Live music, crafts with the LEAF Easel Rider mobile arts lab, a nonprofit village, kayak and stand up paddleboard demo rentals, and access to kayak instructors, boat manufacturers, and paddling experts are all included for no charge at the free festival.

• The festival focuses on enjoying a paddle on the water (whether a novice, expert, or somewhere between), encouraging new folks to join the WNC paddling community, and meeting new friends.

• The free event is open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. behind Wild Wing Café on Lake Julian, located on 65 Long Shoals Road in Arden, North Carolina. It is made possible by a partnership with Buncombe County Recreation Services.

• Kids and well-behaved pets with owner on leash are welcome.

More information available online at

Western North Carolina’s longest-running and largest on-water kayak and stand up paddleboard expo returns to Lake Julian Park with a new location and expanded activities. Local outdoor leader Diamond Brand Outdoors is proud to present Asheville Paddlefest, a free festival celebrating the power human-powered watersports in the region. A partnership with Buncombe County Recreation Services, Asheville Paddlefest takes place on Sunday, May 6, from 10:00-2:00 on the beach behind Wild Wing Café on Lake Julian (65 Long Shoals Road in Arden, North Carolina).

“What started on a small lakeside beach in 2006 has grown into an unofficial start to warm weather paddling season for many folks,” said Chris Bubenik, Marketing Manager for Diamond Brand Outdoors. “Thanks to the great work of many volunteers and community organizations, our mountain rivers, lakes, and streams become cleaner every year, generating memories for thousands of WNC locals. Whether you experience them in a tube, from a kayak, or some other way, nothing beats a day on the water. Asheville Paddlefest has plenty more to experience, but paddling is the main event.”

Buncombe County Recreation Services and Wild Wing Café recently expanded the shoreline beach behind the titular South Asheville restaurant, allowing plenty of space to put in boats and explore Lake Julian. Diamond Brand Outdoors’ paddling experts are bringing their entire fleet of demo boats from Hurricane Kayaks, Liquidlogic Kayaks, Native Watercraft, and NRS for attendees to test on the water for free. They’ll also provide Astral PFDs and Werner Paddles; however, attendees are welcome to bring their own PFDs and/or paddles to avoid waiting in line. Everyone who gets on the lake must sign a liability waiver.

Wild Wing Café is also putting its signature touch on the festival that’s now literally in its backyard. The restaurant will open at 10:00 a.m. with signature foods and mimosa, bloody Mary, and beer specials. Jeff Anders and Friends will play an acoustic set under Wild Wing Café’s outdoor pavilion from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. The festival’s nonprofit village, corn hole matches, and nature-inspired craft making area with the LEAF Easel Rider mobile arts lab will also be housed in the “upper” part of the festival just off of outdoor seating areas. Giveaways and a free raffle featuring prizes from sponsors and paddling brands will also be located within this area.

Attendees are encouraged to explore Lake Julian Park, a family recreational area located on the banks of 300 acre Lake Julian and managed by Buncombe County Recreation Services. The park offers hiking, an 18-hole disc golf course, fishing, a playground, outdoor games, and wildlife.

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