After a summer marked by unusually wet weather, organizers are keeping their fingers crossed for fun in the sun for Saturday’s sixth annual Summer Splash event.
Hundreds of people will grab a kayak, canoe, paddleboard or raft and take to the Chattahoochee River for a six-mile float beginning at Morgan Falls Dam in Sandy Springs. The leisurely river journey will culminate with plenty of opportunities for food and fun with several vendors, including new food truck Fatty’s of Atlanta, at the Powers Island finish.
Kym Hughes, executive director of Sandy Springs Hospitality and Tourism, said her office is once again partnering with the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area to make first-time floaters and seasoned river-goers enjoy a weekend trip down the river.
“We welcome everyone,” Hughes said. “We’ve got people from 18 months to 80 years old. It’s just a really good, fun family event.”
Hughes said both the National Park Service and Sandy Springs Police will be out near the river keeping an eye on more than 600 anticipated participants.
“It’s a good time to test your water skills to see if this is something that might be a lifelong sport, something you want to do every weekend,” Hughes said.
After suffering budget cuts this year, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area is having to rely more on the support from the city to put on the event, said Rudy Evenson, chief of visitor services.
“The city of Sandy Springs is our main partner and organizer,” Evenson said. “They are a big player and even bigger this year than in previous years as they are providing the shuttle service.”
Hughes said the free shuttle service is provided by Cooper Global and paid for by the city.
“This year, when the cuts and everything hit, that was huge for us,” Hughes said. “The thought of not having [Summer Splash] was just like, ‘Oh no, really?’ It gained so much momentum year after year. To me, things like this are a good example of what can happen when you cooperatively work together.”
Evenson said a lot of activities on the Chattahoochee have had to be cancelled or rescheduled because of this year’s weather, but he’s hopeful Summer Splash won’t be one of them.
“We’ve definitely got our fingers crossed for sun,” Evenson said.
Call (678) 538-1200 to make reservations as space is limited. For those looking to rent a canoe, kayak or raft, visit www.nps.gov/chat/ to view the park’s authorized outfitters.