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This Year's Paddlefest Is Basically the Easiest Way You Can Help Hundreds of Kids

If you've lived in or around Cincinnati long enough, you probably know of Paddlefest—the nation's largest paddling celebration.

For the uninitiated, every year thousands paddle down the Ohio River for several hours, leaving from Schmidt Field Recreational Complex and ending at Gilday/Riverside Recreational Complex. The event benefits Adventure Crew, an organization that makes outdoor activities like kayaking and rock climbing free to school-age teens in 24 Cincinnati and NKY schools.

As you'd probably guess, having thousands of people together on the river this year isn't going to happen. Current circumstances haven't stranded organizers up COVID's creek without a paddle, though.

This year, Paddlefest will look slightly different. Now known as Paddle for a Purpose, this year's event will still feature a nine-mile paddle, will still support Adventure Crew, and will still garner thousands of participants. However, instead of having everyone out on the same river at the same time, Paddle for a Purpose is all about paddling on your own favorite waterway and using social media to stay connected.


  • Paddlers register to participate like usual. Everyone who registers gets a neck gaiter by mail.
  • Participants have from June 20th to August 8th to paddle nine miles on whatever body of water they choose.
  • They can paddle all nine miles at once or break it up into multiple trips if they desire.
  • While paddling, participants are encouraged to share photos of themselves paddling by using #PaddleForAPurpose.
  • They can also share it on the Paddlefest website.

Registration costs $25 for an adult and $10 for kids 17 years old and younger. If you're an extra-ambitious paddler, you can sign up to be a "Power Paddler" to raise additional money for Adventure Crew. If you meet set goals for being a Power Paddler, you'll earn exclusive swag while doing it.

Here's the thing: this couldn't be an easier way for you to support a good cause this year. Getting up early and lugging everything down to the Ohio River every year takes effort. This doesn't. Many of us go out to Green Acres or Morgan's at least once every summer anyway; it's a summertime activity that's easy to enjoy. If you're going to do the nine-mile paddle anyhow, why not donate the $25 and help hundreds of local kids while doing it?

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To see photos of last year's Paddlefest, check out the gallery here.