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White Water Rafting at Zoar Outdoor.jpg

Events in Charlemont

Deerfield Festival Weekend
From Friday, June 29, 2018 -  08:00am
To Sunday, July 01, 2018 - 06:00pm
 Contact Bob Nasdor or Zoar Outdoor 800-532-7483

American Whitewater and Zoar Outdoor are joining forces this year to celebrate the Deerfield River. We are combining two great annual events – American Whitewater's Deerfield Fest and Zoar Outdoor's DemoFest – to bring together paddlers from throughout the northeast and beyond for a full weekend of outdoor activities while showcasing whitewater paddlesports. The event will raise funds and membership for American Whitewater.

The Deerfield Festival Weekend will include these exciting events:

Deerfield Fest, Saturday, June 30

For more than 20 years, American Whitewater and F.L.O.W. have hosted the Deerfield Fest to celebrate the successful dam relicensing process that provides 32 annual whitewater releases on the Dryway and 106 annual whitewater releases on Fife Brook. The main festival activities take place on Saturday afternoon/evening and provide entertainment for both paddlesport and non-paddlesport enthusiasts young and old. The festival site will be bustling with activity including a whitewater marketplace, live entertainment, beer, and a silent auction with awesome outdoor gear. The Deerfield River Festival is a critical fundraiser for American Whitewater, and is one of our premiere events. All proceeds from the festival support American Whitewater’s conservation and access work throughout the Northeast.

Zoar Demofest, Friday, June 29, Saturday, June 30th & Sunday, July 1

Try out the latest whitewater kayaks, canoes and SUPs at the Zoar DemoFest. Free instruction from top paddlers, demos of the hottest whitewater boats on the market and hardcore paddling videos - it’s all at the 13th annual DemoFest at Zoar Outdoor. Try out the latest whitewater gear at no charge. Manufacturer representatives, pro paddlers, Team Z and Zoar Outdoor instruction staff will teach free mini-clinics. After a day on the river, paddlers are invited head over to Zoar Outdoor for a BBQ, paddling films, and guest speakers. For more information, contact Zoar Outdoor.


Our main festival event will be Saturday evening hosted at the Charlemont Fairgrounds Click here for map to the Fairgrounds. For more information on DemoFest and Share the Love events, contact Zoar Outdoor.


American Whitewater needs your help! Volunteers are a key part of the success of Deerfield Fest. This is one of the easiest ways to help American Whitewater's river stewardship work, by helping us put on this critical fundraiser. Also, volunteers are entered into special volunteers-only raffles and receive a free volunteers-only t-shirt. SIGN UP HERE

Signing up to Volunteer

If you are interested in volunteering for the Deerfield River Festival, please email the volunteer coordinator Bob Nasdor, be sure to include when you will be available to help out. Thanks, we'll see you there!

Volunteer Jobs

Deerfield Fest is a busy, dynamic event. We humbly request that volunteers should be prepared to be flexible on their role at the festival. Some volunteer jobs are:

  • Friday Setup
  • Gate duty at the fest
  • Silent Auction duty
  • Miscellaneous fest help
  • Sunday Cleanup*

* Sunday's cleanup is a quick, one hour team blitz on the field that always leaves plenty of time for a run on the river afterwards.

Volunteer Check-in

When you get to the event site, you will need to check in at the AW booth. At registration we will have you sign a waiver, provide a quick orientation, and give you your free volunteer t-shirt.

The River

The Dryway (Monroe Bridge)

tooth.jpgThe Monroe Bridge Section (aka the”Dryway”) offers exciting class III-IV boating for intermediates and experts. The crux of the run is Dragon's Tooth Rapid (Class IV). For more information on The Dryway (Monroe Bridge) Section, including gauges, maps, shuttle, and pictures, check out the AW River page.

Fife Brook

gap.jpgThe Fife Brook Section offers solid class II boating with one class III rapid at the end (that can easily be portage if so desired). This stretch is ideal for beginners and budding intermediates. For more information on the Fife Brook Section, including gauges, maps, shuttle, and pictures, check out the AW River page.


camping.jpgFor the past several years, we have allowed camping for a limited number of festival goers at the Charlemont Fairgrounds, and we are excited that camping will be available at the Deerfield Fest again this year in a family friendly setting. The cost for camping for the Deerfield Festival Weekend is $20 and includes 2 nights camping (June 29 & 30) and festival admission. Sign Up early to reserve your spot.

Raffles and Silent Auction

American Whitewater's raffles and silent auction are a highlight of many attending the Deerfield River Festival. Each year festival attendees get great deals on boats, paddles, gear, camping gear, and much more.


As of 2011, dogs are now allowed at Deerfield Fest! In the past, Deerfield Fest organizers were informed that dogs were not allowed on the town's fairgrounds (where the fest is held). As of 2011, we were informed that the dog ban was a mistake and that there was no ban on the record books. However, there are a few simple, mandatory dog rules:

  • Dogs to remain on a 6ft leash or less at all times
  • Owners must clean up after their dogs
  • Aggressive dogs will be ejected
  • Loose dogs will be immediately impounded (really!)

In short, exercise good dog owner behavior and don't ruin it for everyone else! See you and your pups there!


Saturday Fairgrounds RiverFest Schedule

  • 9:00 AM - Vendor Setup Begins in Festival field
  • 10:00 AM - Dryway release begins
  • 3:00 PM - Festival Marketplace opens
  • 3:00 - AW membership Drive begins
  • 3:00 - Dryway release ends
  • 5:00 - Silent Auction Opens
  • 9:30 - AW Membership Drive Closes
  • 9:45 - Silent Auction Closes
  • 10:00 - Raffles and Announcements

Used Gear Swap

There will be a space for people to bring their used gear and list it for sale, free of charge. We suggest you use your new found riches to buy an American Whitewater Membership (if you don't already have one)!


Deerfield Fest is the largest whitewater event in the entire Northeast. Being a vendor at Deerfield Fest is a great way to connect with paddlers from all over New England and to support American Whitewater's river stewardship work.

Buy a Vendor Booth

If you are interested in setting up a vendor booth but haven't yet registered, that's ok. Plan on setting up by 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 24th. The cost for a booth is $50 for a 10×10 booth in advance. To register for a vendor booth, click HERE

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Sat Evening Event at the Fairgrounds

Booth Price: It depends on the date as there's a discount for early booth purchase. See the Vendor Registration Form for the current price.

Rain Date: There is no rain date for Deerfield Fest. Although the festival is held entirely outside, we put on the festival rain or shine. The majority of folks that attend are outdoors minded and are undeterred by a little rain.

Vendor Passes: When you arrive at the festival site just check in with an event staffer. They'll get you your vendor wrist bands.

Setup Time: You're welcome to come as early as you feel is necessary to setup your booth. What a lot of vendors do is setup their booth around 8-10am then go for a paddle/float on the river and then come back in time before the crowds start to show up (usually around 3pm).

Breakdown Time: You're also welcome to break down your booth whenever you feel is appropriate. Most vendors break down their booths late on Saturday night after the crowds have left. You're also welcome to do it early morning on Sunday.

Vendor Camping: Vendors are allowed to camp onsite, on Saturday night. Most vendors simply camp out behind their booths and then break down their wares in the morning. Vendors needing to work out Friday night camping should contact Bob Nasdor at

Booth Tents: We recommend vendors that set up at Deerfield Fest have some sort of booth tent, however, you're certainly not required to use one. It's just nice to have a little shade from the sun during the day or protection in case it rains. For what it's worth, nearly all vendors at Deerfield Fest in the past bring some sort of tent.

Electricity: Electricity is provided via standard electrical sockets at the rear of most booths. Usually there's one standard (2 plug box) per two booths. Please bring any splitters or extension cords you need for your particular setup. Also, sockets can sometimes be a little distant from certain booths, so vendors should plan to bring an extension cord or two to make things easy.

Event Hours: Technically 3pm-Midnight. However, as a vendor you'll find the most activity between 4-10pm.

MA Sales Tax: Vendors selling items through their booths are individually responsible for compliance with all Massachusetts Sales Tax laws. More information about MA Sales Tax rules and laws.

Tobacco Products and Similar: The sale of tobacco or smoking products (e.g. pipes, etc.) is not allowed at Deerfield Fest.

Location Zoar Outdoor and Charlemont Fairgrounds