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Deerfield Fest Evening at Berkshire East Canceled

Posted: 08/30/2021
By: Bob Nasdor

Paddling Friends & AW Supporters


We have made the difficult decision to cancel the Deerfield Fest evening at Berkshire East scheduled for September 11 and put all of our attention to on-water activities. The good news is that there will be a lot to enjoy at the Deerfield River that weekend.


Safety is core to American Whitewater’s mission, both on and around the river and in the communities where we paddle. While we have been working hard to make this year’s Deerfield Fest a special event where we can finally come together after 18-months of Covid restrictions, Massachusetts has seen a 24 percent increase in cases and a 46 percent increase in hospitalizations in the past 14 days and the trend is continuing due to the Delta variant. Charlemont has recently mandated indoor masking for everyone and we have heard from some of our Deerfield Fest vendor partners that they won’t be able to participate in the Fest this year due to Covid. Numerous other large events have also been cancelled. 


While it was our earnest hope that we would be able to hold the evening celebration despite this trend, we have reached the point where AW believes that holding a large event, even outdoors, poses a risk for paddlers, AW staff, volunteers, and its partners, and the Charlemont community. We hope that you will understand and support this difficult decision.


Now for the good news.


The September 11/12 release weekend is still happening minus the evening at Berkshire East. Zoar Outdoor is still hosting Demofest Clinics, the whitewater releases are still happening, and some other on-water events are still planned. Since Deerfield Fest is AW’s most important membership event in the Northeast, we   hope to have a Membership Booth at the Zoar Gap takeout area so you can renew your membership, get some swag, and have a chance to win a Kokatat OM drytop. In the next few days, we will also launch an online AW membership drive and Silent Auction where you can bid on some amazing boats, gear, and paddling opportunities. Funds raised will support AW’s river stewardship work in the region including our current work on the Deerfield, Moose, Beaver, Connecticut, Penobscot, and more than a dozen other rivers in the region. Thank you to our volunteers and everyone for your continuing support for our work. 


Schedule of weekend events on the Deerfield River.


All weekend:

  • Zip, Downhill Mountain Bike, Hike along the Deerfield River Valley… welcome to Massachusetts’ playground!
  • Camping and Camaraderie at local public and private campgrounds
  • Witness the start of the famous New England Fall as leaves begin to change
  • Check out the shops in Charlemont, Shelburne Falls, and throughout the region





Bob Nasdor

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