Rafting & Rhythm Festival in Hartford, TN

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Children will find plenty to do at the Rafting & Rhythm Festival to take place Saturday, June 6 at USA Raft’s headquarters.

The festival is a fundraiser for Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic in Sevierville, which provides medical and dental care for Sevier County residents and employees who have no health insurance. “It’s fitting that children will find plenty to do at the Festival, since the Clinic treats children as well as adults,” said Ashley Burnette Justice, the Clinic’s director of fund development.

One of the main attractions will be rafting on the beautiful Pigeon River. Which type of trip you choose could depend on the age of the child. Wild rides over Class III and IV rapids on the Upper Pigeon River are suitable for anyone age 8 and over. Milder rides — though still with some rapids — on the Lower Pigeon are suitable for children ages 3 and older.


The usual rafting charge applies; children ages 3 through 7 raft for free. If you choose not to raft, this charge does not apply. USA Raft will donate all rafting income for the day to Mountain Hope Clinic. Rafters must wear secure footwear. Helmets and life vests are provided and USA Raft guides are highly experienced. Free T-shirts will be given out to rafters while supplies last.

If you don’t want to go rafting, there are lots of children’s activities on site. A water slide, obstacle course, bounce house, kids’ rope course, face painting and caricatures, and safe archery will provide lots of fun for the younger set.

Live music will be provided by several groups and performers during the day. In the intervals between sets, Ellen Crivellone of Smoky Mountain Sounds will supervise games and contests for children and adults such as hula hoop and limbo contests. Curious kids can also learn how things are made by watching demonstrations by artists and crafts people at vendors’ booths.

All the music will be family-friendly. Performing will be Robinella, from Knoxville, a performance sponsored by Old Forge Distillery; Kirk Fleta of Gatlinburg; Josh Dillon; Steve Brown & Hurricane Ridge; Northern Lights; Wires and Wood, and Colby Green & Fourth Generation.

The whole family can enjoy food from Parton’s Smokin’ Butz Barbecue in Seymour and from a food truck that will provide a variety of delicacies. Children will especially love snow cones from Kona Ice that they can make themselves, using their favorite flavors.

The Festival fun lasts from 11 to 7 p.m. June 6 at 3630 Hartford Road in Hartford, close to Interstate 40 exit 447. Proceeds benefit Mountain Hope Clinic. Admission is a suggested donation of $5. For more information, see www.raftingandrhythm.com or facebook/raftingandrhythmtn.