Hey, thanks for being here. We have a lot in store for you, and we hope you enjoy a little bit of the Cheat Fest magic from wherever you are right now. We also hope that you’re hanging in there, and finding some beauty within the chaos.

Cheat Fest is at it’s heart a community affair, and like always, this wacky ‘festival’ has come together thanks to so many folks putting love and energy into it – this year in totally new ways. Throughout the week we’re going to share kid’s activities, watershed talks, and songs from the community. We’ve got a virtual 5K going all week — to which everyone is invited (required) to join — and a silent auction full of goodies. On Friday and Saturday we’re going to have a stacked line-up of music to get you grooving at home, we’ll hear poetry, we’ll have a mini-film release from a local legend, who knows what else will happen.

If you want to donate financially, become a FOC member (at the bottom of this page) or head over to our store to buy a “ticket” and this year’s t-shirt. If you’re not in a position to do so, don’t sweat it, you’re welcome here too.

This is our virtual home for the week. Every day I’ll share a page of Cheat Fest goodies right here, on our website (cheatfest.org). We’ll also stream on our Facebook & our Youtube Channel. (I’ll probably also learn how to make things more smooth as the week progresses – so bear with me on the technical pieces.)

Here’s to the 26th Annual Cheat River Festival. A labor of love, for the river we love, from our home to yours. Here goes nothing!

The rules:
This is a family friendly event
Glass is totally fine
Pets are encouraged
On Thursday we wear denim
Wash your hands

Happy Cheat Fest Week!
Lauren (Festival Coordinator)

Welcome from FOC’s director, Amanda Pitzer

Monday in the Kid’s Tent

Fest Art Coloring Contest PDF Download

Welcome to Virtual Silent Auction

Click here to enter our Virtual Silent Auction! It will be live from noon today, Monday, April 27 through 5PM next Sunday, May 3rd. A massive thank you to Lisa for organizing this and for adapting so quickly to this new online format. More thankyous to the amazing sponsors, vendors, artists & friends who donated to make this possible. All proceeds will help off-set the cost of cancelling the festival and will support the work of Friends of the Cheat. We hope you enjoy!

Click to Peruse the Virtual Silent Auction! 

Ed. Eddy T.V!

Tune in today, Monday April 27th at 7PM to see Charlie Walbridge’s Education Eddy talk: The Glory Days of Cheat River Rafting. 

In the 1970’s and ’80’s the Cheat Canyon was a very popular spring rafting venue, as big as the famous Gauley River in the fall. Roughly 40,000 people ran the river commercially each year. Charlie Walbridge and other other guides from that era will share their stories, including “Black Monday” and other accounts of guide-assisted mayhem.

Charlie Walbridge started paddling whitewater in college and first visited West Virginia in the late 60’s. An active C-1 slalom and wildwater racer, he worked part-time as a river guide on the Cheat River in the late 70’s. He ran a mail order company, Wildwater Designs, for 22 years. After the company closed he and his wife, Sandy, moved to Bruceton Mills. He worked as a sales rep for Northwest River Supplies in Idaho and serves outfitters from Maine to Georgia. A long time member of the American Whitewater board, he maintains their accident database and produces a bi-annual annual report of U.S. whitewater fatalities. He’s also an ACA instructor-trainer in swiftwater rescue and teaches regularly on the area’s rivers. He’s produced several books and is especially proud of A Canoe and Kayak Guide to West Virginia, the updated version of the publication that first brought him to the state. He’s also on the board of Camp Mowglis, the place where he learned to canoe.

Music this Week

We’ve got a ton of music in store for ya’ll, so stay tuned for concerts from members of these awesome groups, who are so generously sharing their performances with us. HUGE shout out and thank you to our musical director, Adam Payne.

The Rumpke Mountain Boys, Jakobs Ferry Stragglers, The Dirty Grass Players, The Boatmen, Stewed Mulligan, William Matheny, Aristotle Jones, Lords of Lester, The Flybirds, Shelf Life String Band, The Cooley Gang, Two Ton Twig & Jim Meckley

Community Song Share

As we all know, so much of the music at Cheat Fest comes from the community. Each day of Cheat Fest from Home week, we’re sharing music that folks sent in from their homes. A huge thank you to everyone who recorded a themselves, it’s been such a treat to listen and watch ya’ll. (If you’d like to share your music from home, post a video of yourself on our Facebook page, or send me a youtube link at Cheatfest@cheat.org)

I Love My Home, Down Country Roads by Jen Osha & Son

Ryan Gaujot

From the Hip from the 2014 Cheat River Festival

Ain’t No Ash by Emily Tanzey

Chris Felton

The Virtual 5K Foot Race has begun!

Welcome to the Cheat River Festival Virtual 5K Foot Race. We welcome all racers here — run, walk, or visualize a race from the comfort or confines of wherever you are. Registration is free, though folks who would like to donate can do so by buying a ticket to the virtual festival. Registration is open all the way through Saturday, May 2nd, and registered runners can submit their race results to this form. The open race period is now through Sunday, May 3rd at 5PM.

Meet our new race coordinator Kelley-Burd Huss’s in her kick-off video below to learn more!

How to Support Friends of the Cheat

All proceeds from this virtual festival go towards supporting the work of Friends of the Cheat. If you’re a Cheat River lover and looking for a way to financially contribute to us during this time, consider either donating by buying a “ticket”, or getting one of the beautiful shirts featuring John Victor’s artwork. We cannot yet say when shirts will be printed, but will be sure to use safe handling and shipping practices once we are able to place the order. We truly appreciate all donations; they go towards the costs of cancelling the festival and support the work of Friends of the Cheat.

Ticket Donation & Festival Shirt Orders 


Become a Member of Friends of the Cheat

Membership Level


Subscribe To Cheat Fest From Home Emails