ALBRIGHT, W.Va. — Kayaking, music, camping, food, art, educational talks about flora and fauna, a 5K and more took place earlier this weekend at the annual Cheat River Festival.
The family event was launched to raise awareness about cleaning up the Cheat River after years of acid mine drainage pollution in the 1970s.
Lisa Maraffa, Friends of the Cheat program assistant and event producer, said you won’t find weekends like this anywhere else and she’s proud to be part of the organization.
“Since we formed around 1994 or so, we have gone from a completely dead orange river that would sting your eyes when you tried to navigate it in a boat, to we have successful fisheries. There’s boating and recreation, and it comes back by 10,” Maraffa said.
This year’s Down River Race was canceled for the first time due to heavy rain, but the mud didn’t stop everyone from having a great time. Even with the rain, the campsite hosted around 3,000 guests. The tradition was welcome after having to cancel Cheat Fest in recent years due to COVID-19.
Cheat Fest takes place every year on the first weekend of May.