Rick Gusic’s Cheat River Massacer-ence

The Cheat River Festival weekend kicks off with one of the largest, if not the largest, mass start downriver races in the country known as the Cheat River “Massacre-ence”.  The registration and start is about one mile downriver of the town of Albright, West Virginia, at the Cheat Fest South entrance. The race course travels about 10 miles through the Cheat Canyon, dropping at a maximum gradient of 40 feet per mile. All the famous (and infamous) rapids are paddled, including Decision, Big Nasty, High Falls and Coliseum. The front of the pack usually reaches the finish line, Jenkinsburg Bridge, in about 1 hour, depending on water levels while the back of the pack, the slower boats, usually finish up around 1 hour 45 mins.

5K Foot Race

Saturday morning of the Cheat River Festival starts with a 5K run that attracts athletes, walkers and families from West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and beyond. The funds raised support the Preston Rail-Trails Committee, who, with support from FOC, have implemented 38 miles of new rail-trail in Preston County.  Runners start and finish at the Preston County Country Club, cruising along the gently rolling course through the grounds of the golf course, the rhododendron lined banks of Buffalo Creek, and along the mighty Cheat River.

Art Market

The Art Market at the Cheat River Festival  is a semi-circle of high quality artist’s booths located in the center of the main vendors’ row. Come check out a beautiful selection of original work from a variety of local and regional artists. A great day-time activity for the whole family!

Kid’s Tent

Cheat Fest is fun for the whole family! Remember – Kids under twelve enter the festival for free. The Kid’s Tent is a place for kids to learn skills, create crafts, and meet other kids. More information about this year’s theme and schedule of activities coming soon!

Education Eddy & Workshops

The Education Eddy is a space for learning about the State of the Cheat River watershed during Cheat Fest. Speakers will touch on all manner of environmental, science, and conservation topics. Come sit in on discussions, bring your questions and your camp chair, and enjoy rich discussion and learning! Beyond the Ed Eddy, we also have other interactive workshops scheduled throughout the Fest.

Silent Auction

Our silent auction is full of treasures ranging from locally-made jewelry to boats. If you are interested in donating to the Silent Auction, please contact silentauction@cheat.org. The silent auction will be open from 5:30pm on Festival Friday to 9:00pm Festival Saturday, and all proceeds support the work of Friends of the Cheat.


The Cheat River Festival. This is the kids nature hike, taking place along the Cheat River.

The Cheat River Festival. This is the kids nature hike, taking place along the Cheat River.