For outdoor and nature enthusiasts, the highlight of the summer is just around the corner. The 10th annual Smith River Fest presented by Bassett Physical Therapy will be held on Saturday, August 12 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.

In past years, more than 5,000 guests from 10 different states and 52 Virginia communities have participated in the event, and festival organizers are expecting great numbers this year. Highlighted events for the 10th annual event include the 4.8-mile long Smith River Race, Helgramite Hustle 5K Mud Run, Blue Ridge Duck Race and more!

Activity areas will be spread throughout the festival allowing guests to try out various forms of recreation, including:

  • The Smith River Experience, presented by Martinsville Parks & Recreation, offers beginner paddlers short 30-minute canoe trips. (Free)
  • The Casting Pool will allow guests to learn casting techniques for trout fishing. Volunteers from Smith River Trout Unlimited will facilitate lessons. (Free)
  • The Kids Cycle Station will allow youth ages 10 and under to challenge themselves to a biking obstacle course while learning about bike safety. The rides will be facilitated by volunteers from the Henry County Bike Club and Martinsville Police Department. (Free)
  • The Kids Zone will include multiple bounce houses for children to enjoy. (Free)
  • The Hammock Villages will provide a fun way to relax during the festival. (Free)

For paddlers’ convenience there will be free river shuttles all day long offered by Henry County Parks and Recreation and Martinsville Senior Services. Two shuttle busses will stop at Marrowbone Creek and Mitchell Bridge river accesses and the other two shuttle busses will stop at the South Martinsville and Frith Road river accesses. Everyone who enjoys the river during Smith River Fest is encouraged to paddle responsibly and wear a life jacket.

Live entertainment will include DJ music, demos and live music. Adjacent to the stage area, the YMCA will host a Beer Garden that will open at 11 am.

There will be vendors of all sorts selling outdoor gear, crafts, gifts and food will be present as well as informational displays. Featured vendors include Bassett Physical Therapy, Casting for Recovery, Casting Logos, Chick-fil-A, Cuz’s Hotdogs, Dan’s Ice Cream, Hawaiian Shaved Ice, LulaRoe, Mary Kay, McBride Aerial Photography, Mountain Khakis, Nellie’s Food on the Go, Paparazzi Jewelry, Patrick Henry Community College, Polar Bear Real Italian Ice, Preston Ridge Winery, Rubber Arm Inc., Smith River Trout Unlimited, Snack Wagon Concessions, The Harvest Foundation, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers- Philpott Lake and Wecare.

The event, started in 2008, is designed to promote recreational opportunities along the Smith River and in the surrounding region. Smith River Fest is collaborative effort between Henry County Parks & Recreation, Martinsville-Henry County EDC’s Tourism Division, Smith River Sports Complex, Dan River Basin Association, Martinsville-Henry County YMCA, Martinsville Parks & Recreation and the Boys & Girls Club of the Blue Ridge.

Vendor applications, race registrations and additional festival information can be found at SmithRiverFest.com or by calling 276.632.8006.

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