People recreate Tuesday at the Yampa River near Charlie’s Hole, which will be the headquarters for this weekend’s Yampa River Festival.

Photo by Matt Stensland

People recreate Tuesday at the Yampa River near Charlie’s Hole, which will be the headquarters for this weekend’s Yampa River Festival.

Yampa River Festival to be held during the holiday weekend

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Yampa River Festival schedule

Friday

4 to 7 p.m. Registration party, Backdoor Sports, 841 Yampa St.

Saturday

All day Riverboard demos, kids activities, food and music along the Yampa River near Bud Werner Memorial Library.

9 a.m. 5- and 1-kilomenter running races at the Depot Art Center. $10 per participant.

11 a.m. Downriver kayak/canoe/stand-up paddleboard race at River Creek Park off Walton Creek Road. $10 per participant.

Noon to 2 p.m. Stand-up paddleboard race starting at Fetcher Park off Pine Grove Road. $10 per participant. Demos will be available.

2 p.m. Raft race starting at Fetcher Park. $10 per participant. Prizes for best costumes and first raft to finish.

2:30 p.m. Crazy River Dog competition at Charlie’s Hole near the Bud Werner Memorial Library. $10 per participant.

3 p.m. Freestyle Rodeo at Charlie’s Hole. $10 per participant.

5 p.m. Tube race starting at Dr. Rich Weiss Park across from Old Town Hot Springs. $10 per participant.

5 p.m. Yampa River Festival party at Sweetwater Grill, 811 Yampa St. Awards, food, music, river games and live music. Cover charge.

Sunday

10 a.m. to noon Slalom race at Dr. Rich Weiss Park. $10 per participant.

Noon casual float starting at River Creek Park off Walton Creek Road. Free.

Monday

Paddling Life Open

Noon to 3 p.m. Pro Rodeo at Charlie’s Hole near Bud Werner Memorial Library

4 to 6 p.m. Fish Creek race (subject to stream flows)

Online: www.friendsoftheyampa.com

— This weekend, Steamboat Springs residents will celebrate 270 miles of recreational opportunities during the 32nd annual Yampa River Festival.

“We get people that come from all over the state,” said Kent Vertrees, one the event’s organizers.

Numerous events are planned for Saturday and Sunday leading up to the Paddling Life Open professional kayaking competitions Monday.

Kayaking events for the public will be held Saturday and Sunday, but there are many other opportunities for people and dogs to participate. The cost to participate in an event is $10, and all proceeds go to Friends of the Yampa, a nonprofit that advocates for river health and recreation.

The festival kicks off with a registration party from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Backdoor Sports, 841 Yampa St.

There are 5- and 1-kilometer running races at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Depot Art Center. This is the second year the running races have been a part of the event, and with mostly sunny skies and a forecast high of 73 degrees Saturday, Vertrees expects a good turnout.

A downriver race starts at 11 a.m. Saturday, and people will be able to demo stand-up paddleboards starting at noon at Fetcher Park off Pine Grove Road.

The raft race returns this year at 2 p.m. Saturday at Fetcher Park. There will be prizes awarded for the fastest raft and the best costumes.

The fan-favorite Crazy River Dog canine competition is at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Charlie’s Hole.

Lower than typical river flows are allowing for a tube race at 5 p.m. starting at Dr. Rich Weiss Park across from Old Town Hot Springs.

Participants should bring their own tubes, have life jackets and be prepared for cold water that could discourage a lazy ride down the river.

“Kick hard,” Vertrees said. “Get to the front as fast as you can.”

The festival party starts at 5 p.m. Saturday at Sweetwater Grill. Vertrees said there would be a cover charge, food, live music and games.

On Sunday, local kayakers will test their skills on a slalom course at 10 a.m. at Dr. Rich Weiss Park. It will be followed by a casual float starting at noon at River Creek Park off Walton Creek Road.

The Paddling Life Open competitions will be held Monday, and 20 to 30 professional kayakers are expected to participate. The competition features a race down Fish Creek and a freestyle competition at Charlie’s Hole. An after party is at Carl’s Tavern.

The freestyle rodeo competition is scheduled to be from noon to 3 p.m. The race down Fish Creek is dependent on creek flows and is tentatively scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m.

“It promises to be a great weekend,” Friends of the Yampa President Ken Brenner was quoted as saying in a news release. “It’s a great way to bring awareness to the river in our backyard, which serves so many vital interests.”

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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