Thanks to Cheat Canyon Adventures for writing this awesome How-To Guide for families at Cheat Fest


Countless kids and families join the fun at Cheat River Festival each year. Cheat Fest is a family friendly event offering live music and plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained. Bring the whole family and support the Friends of Cheat mission. Best of all, kids 12 and under get in free! Below are a few simple tips for bringing the kids to the 2015 Cheat River Festival.

  1. Get Involved
    Families who volunteer enjoy the perks that come with Cheat Fest VIP status. Your family can get free admission, free camping on the festival grounds, free food and drinks provided at the volunteer cafe, and discounts on Cheat Fest gear! Volunteering is a good way to teach kids about the importance of outreach, community, and working for a good cause.
  2. Come Well Stocked
    Don’t forget the essentials! It’s a spring festival on the river, so think about extra clothes or shoes for the kids, along with a raincoat or umbrella in case of rain. Other items for the kiddo checklist: sunblock, toiletries, Walkie Talkies, games, and nap-time earplugs.
  3. Early Bird Gets the Worm
    Come early before parking fills up. The festival starts at 11:30am, so leave plenty of time to find accessible parking. Don’t forget – families of four or more qualify for the Cheat Fest Carpool Contest. Attendants will select vehicles at random for a VIP upgrade or other fun other perks.
    Get to the festival early and find the ideal spot to set up chairs and a blanket. Think about your proximity to food, wash stands, music, and vehicle when choosing your base camp. Parents of babies or toddlers may want to find shade or set up a small pack and play. Strollers or wagons can also be a big help when exploring the festival grounds.
  4. Know the Activity Schedule
    Don’t miss the fun stuff! The Cheat Fest Kids Tent hosted from 12-5 PM will feature an Egyptian theme that emphasizes how Cheat River and the famous Nile River both flow north. Staff and volunteers will be crafting Egyptian Cartouche necklaces, paper plate masks, and “Minecrafting” a pyramid from soda bottle caps. There’s also a tie die workshop, so be sure to bring any extra headbands or small t-shirts! The picture above by Gabe DeWitt captures the spirit of the Kids Parade which is scheduled for 4:45 PM. Find more Cheat Fest Kids pics at 
    The Mountain Stewardship & Outdoor Leadership School will also host a Woods Walk 101 from 12:30 -1:30 PM featuring an educational hike that teaches plant and animal identification. The walk provides lessons on animal tracking and how to recognize different plant species. Bring your journal or notepad and see what you can find!
  5. Eat, Drink, & Celebrate
    We all get cranky when we’re hungry, so bring plenty of snacks and keep the little ones fueled-up! Vendors will also serve-up kid-friendly fare like hot dogs, popcorn, quesadillas, and smoothies. Bring plenty of water and extra fluids for the kids. A full day scrambling around the festival requires a little extra hydration. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to dance and act silly!
  6. Have the Safety Talk
    Every parent values their child’s safety. Watch over them during the festival. Discuss your expectations, and discuss a rendezvous point if you get separated. Don’t forget, bring a first aid kit for those little scratches and bumps. Together we’ll continue to make Cheat Fest a memorable time for kids and adults alike.