Saturday, May 1 to Saturday, May 8 – Cheat Fest Silent Auction: VIRTUAL – With items coming in from many of our alumni vendors, artists, and sponsors, this year’s online silent auction has a great assortment of boating gear, gift baskets from local businesses, handmade art, experience packages, and so much more. We’re still accepting item donations – please contact our coordinator, Lisa Maraffa, at email@example.com if you’d like to contribute. A preview of the auction items will go live on Friday, April 30th – and the auction begins at noon on Saturday and will be live for one week. Good luck, bidders!
May 8th – Gritstone Ascension Adventure – 10:00am to 6:00pm – Get ready to see how high you can climb. FOC is partnering with Gritstone Climbing and Fitness and the Cheat Canyon Climbing Club to introduce newbies and engage seasoned climbers during Cheat Fest month. This challenge, hosted at the Gritstone gym in Morgantown, WV, is all about seeing how many vertical feet you can cover using routes of any level. For $15, enter the Ascension Adventure for a chance to win a Grand Prize. There will be art, a food truck, and music!
Saturday, May 8th through Sunday, May 16th – 5K Foot Race: VIRTUAL – You don’t have to be in Preston County to compete in the Cheat Fest Virtual 5K race this year! During the open race period you will run a 5K (3.1 Miles) on your own, at the safe physical distance from others! If you can’t get outside; run it inside! Runners will track their own times, and completion is based on the honor system. Registration is just $5 – support FOC by getting a sweat on (or walking at a leisurely pace)!
Sunday, May 16th – Kids Tent Art Day: IN-PERSON (distanced) – Eddie Spaghetti Art, Preston County Parks and Recreation Commission, and Preston Trail Towns are hosting a Kids’ Art Day on the Cheat Fest grounds. Starting at 1:00pm, kids will get creative and messy as they work with Eddie on a collaborative mural to be installed at the new Tunnelton Trailhead Park at the West Virginia Northern Rail Trail. This event is open to all kids and teens, and is a great opportunity for families to re-connect with the Cheat Fest site.
Saturday, May 22nd – Guided Nature Hike through the Cheat Canyon with Ecologist Doug Manning – 1:00pm – IN-PERSON (distanced) – In honor of all things outdoors for Cheat Fest Month, Friends of the Cheat is hosting a guided Nature Hike through the Cheat Canyon along the Allegheny Trail with special guest and friend of the Cheat, Doug Manning. Doug is a terrestrial ecologist specializing in forest ecology and botany. He has served as an Ecologist for the Monongahela National Forest and currently serves as the Biologist for New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.
Participants will brush up on their plant identification and knowledge and explore some of the most beautiful public land in Preston County (and in West Virginia!)
Those interested should arrive at the Allegheny Trail Head Parking Lot (just a minute drive on the left past FOC’s Campground off of Beech Run Road in Albright, West Virginia) at 1:00pm, Saturday May 22nd.
The hike will be moderate in difficulty and will last approximately one hour. Please bring adequate water and sturdy footwear.
Sunday, May 23rd – FOC Cheat River Interpretive Float – 10:30am to 3:30pm – IN-PERSON (distanced) – Join FOC staff and local experts for a guided interpretive float on the Cheat River Water Trail from Saint George to Hannahsville, WV. Participants will learn about the Cheat River’s storied past from polluted to prosperous, its geologic and cultural history, and the creatures that call this section of river home.
Dependent on the weather, FOC will also bring snorkeling gear including masks and snorkels to see the Cheat’s aquatic residents up close! Participants will learn native fish and amphibian identification and immerse themselves in the Cheat’s underwater world.
Due to COVID and logistics, FOC is limiting registration to 25 participants. Please reserve your spot today by registering here. The registration fee is $10.
FOC is asking that participants set their own shuttle due to COVID safety measures. Participants may bring their own boats or boat rentals can be provided through Blackwater Outdoor Adventures (http://blackwateroutdoors.com). If you’re bringing you own boat/s, please have your shuttle set and be ready to put on the water at 10:30am at the St. George public river access site. If you are renting a boat – an FOC staff member will meet you at BOA that morning – make sure you’re rental is for 10:00am. If you need assistance setting up a shuttle or have any questions, FOC would be happy to help– contact Madison Ball at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Items to Bring:
Bring a rod and reel if fishing is one of your hobbies–this section boasts a great smallmouth fishery. If birds are your calling, binoculars will be a good choice as well. If you have your own mask and snorkel, please bring it with you. FOC sterilizes snorkels and masks before and after use. Please bring a lunch and/or snacks, ample water for the trip, and suncreen as needed.
May 29th – Gym to Crag – 2:00pm to 6:00pm – Explore the fundamentals of climbing outside with the Gritstone team. We’ll be meeting up at the FOC Campground (139 Beech Run Rd, Albright, WV 26519). There, you’ll learn about the history of climbing in the area, enjoy a guided hike, and experience climbing on real rock. Make it an epic Memorial Day Weekend by camping out at FOC’s campground afterwards!
May 1st – Cheat Canyon Massacre-ence
Everything you need and want to know is here!
Saturday, May 1 – Cheat Fest Live-streaming Music: VIRTUAL – It wouldn’t be Cheat Fest without a great lineup of local music – this year, look for live-streams from members of Stewed Mulligan, The Hillbilly Gypsies, 18 Strings, Aristotle Jones, and Meadow Run!
Sunday, May 2 – Cheat Canyon Whitewater Surf Contest: IN-PERSON (distanced) – Downriver Racers and local paddlers – get ready for the first ever Cheatfest Whitewater Surf Contest. There will be a division for both kayakers and rafters. No prior registration is needed.
The Cheat Canyon public access will be open at the Cheat Fest site. Plan to be on the river between 10:30am and 11:00am – the contest will begin at Typewriter at 12:30pm, and will last for 2 hours. Prizes will be given at the judges’ discretion – and will be distributed on location, so save some room in your dry bags.
As most of us know, the Cheat Canyon has many class (3-4+) rapids along the way. Only people with experience running the Cheat should consider participating in the contest. If you participate in the event, you are doing so at your own risk. Play it safe and have fun.
Sunday, May 2 – Adopt-a-Highway: IN-PERSON (distanced) – Volunteer your time with FOC in our Cheat Fest ‘Make It Shine’ litter pickup along Rt. 26 in Albright, WV. Participants can meet up with FOC staffer Beth Warnick at the Cheat River Festival site at 1:00pm. Bags, gloves, and pickup sticks will be provided.