Organizing the Rock the River Event

The race’s organizer, ACA, was founded in 1880 and is the oldest and largest paddle sports organization in the United States. Headquartered in Fredericksburg, the organization promotes canoeing, kayaking, and rafting in the whole country. The ACA conducts instructor certification, public information campaigns, waterway conservation, and safety education all related to rafting, canoeing, and rafting. ACA also sponsors more than seven hundred events each year.

Apart from the Great Rappahannock Whitewater Canoe Race, ACA organizes Rock the River FXBG that also offers foot race and other outdoor activities. As a music festival, Rock the River FXBG offers live music, great craft beer, arts and crafts, and tasty food. The community embraced the event whole-heartedly as this is the first time that Fredericksburg had something like it. The Rock the River FXBG committee wanted to bring together the many communities who benefit from the Rappahannock river either through tourism, business development, recreation, or cultural influence. The event organizers provide opportunities for local vendors to offer their products and services to a larger audience. To attract many patrons, the event has free admission and open to the public except the beer garden.

According to the organizer’s website, the Rock the River FXBG is organized by a committee of non-profit entities and for-profit business owners. The event organizers consist of five business leaders from the FredEvents, ACA, the Virginia Outdoor Center, Gravatt Entertainment, and Spencer Devon Brewing.

The first-ever Rock the River FXBG was held in June 2015 and had an estimated 2,500 people in attendance. Participants grew each year with 5,000 in 2016, 7,000 in 2017, and another 7,000 people in 2019. Due to rainstorms, the GRWCR race was canceled in 2018 but still, it managed to draw a crowd of 3,000. The number of establishments and shops joining also increased, from 35 vendors when the event first opened its doors, to 50 in 2016, 80 in 2017 and 2018, to a record-breaking 90 vendors in 2019. The committee offers Fredericksburg’s musicians, local vendors, and craft brewers to participate in the event before seeking outside support. The organizers also charge a very low participation fee to set up a booth. It is only $30 for artisans and artists who do not have brick and mortar operations, and free of cost for non-profit groups. The amount already includes goods and services business fees.

One of the participating artisans was Riverstone Designs by Beth Seale. Seale runs a guided kayak tour business in Orange County from the spring season to fall and started a jewelry company so she would have something to do in the winter months. Collecting river glass and river stones throughout the years, Seale’s jewelry pieces are handmade using her collections. For 2021, various vendors and food trucks have already signed up for the event such as Hogshead Cigar Lounge, City Perks, Famous Dave’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Credit Glory, Foundation Church, Friends of the Rappahannock, Kona Ice, Martina’s Cantina, ODD BOX Studios, Old Dominion Humane Society, UFO Truck, Veranda 804, KPN Images, and many more.

Rock the River FXBG and its supporting events such as 4 Run/Walk for the River and Great Rappahannock Whitewater Canoe Race were able to race and donate a total of $10,000 to 7 different local charities directly helping the community. Rock the River FXBG is also a certified Virginia Green Event. Virginia Green is a state program that promotes green practices in the tourism industry. From its inception in 2007, 1800+ tourism operations have self-certified their environmental practices and been recognized as Virginia Green Travel Partners. The Virginia Green recently offered its certification program to festivals and events in the state providing them with do’s and don’ts, lessons learned, and practical ideas for planning and implementing events that will minimize environmental impacts.

With being certified a Virginia Green Event, Rock the River FXBG is selecting vendors that can help the organization to raise environment awareness that will set a great example to event visitors. It will also ensure that participating vendors and sponsors are shed on a positive light. Also, the committee hosts a park and river clean-up event the morning after the event to ensure that the park returned to the city in better shape before it was used. The Rock the River FXBG committee is proud in being designated a good steward of city resources and Virginia Green certified event. …

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The Rappahannock River’s Storied History

Fredericksburg runs along the Rappahannock River which is a river in eastern Virginia that stretches approximately 195 miles that traverses the entire northern part of the state, from the Blue Ridge Mountains in the west to the Chesapeake by south of the Potomac. It is considered as the country’s longest free-flowing river and is the best-protected river corridors in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The Rappahannock river may have served as a possible boundary between the South and the North during the Civil War. It is certain though that during the colonial era, the river was the site of early settlements in the Virginia Colony and the center of a major theater of battle in the American Civil War. The Battle at Rappahannock Station and the Battle of Fredericksburg both took place along the river where tens of thousands of troops fought against each other. The river, with few convenient fords and fewer bridges, functioned as the boundary, and a defensive line and barrier between the Confederate States of America in the south and the Union in the north. Rappahannock River, with its temporary bridges, became a difficult barrier to overcome for the Union especially during their attempts to attack into southern Virginia. During the course of the war, control of the river changed hands many times but General Ulysses S. Grant triumphantly circumvented the defensive line in the river that ultimately gave the Union victory.

With the river’s rich history, Fredericksburg’s image is deeply entwined with the Rappahannock river. The city would always use the river as its geographical reference and photographs of the city often include the river. Although Rappahannock river once had great local significance historically and as a port of entry, over the years, it became more of a source of recreation and beauty.

One of the many recreational activities along the Fredericksburg is the Great Rappahannock Whitewater Canoe Race. Every year, GRWCR’s proceeds go to various organizations identified by the American Canoe Association. For 2021, proceed for the annual race will support Friends of the Rappahannock, ACA’s Olympic Scholarships, and Local Department’s River Rescue Team. The races include Whitewater Downriver which stretches five miles and racers can canoe, kayak or standup paddleboard, and Race and Whitewater Sprint with only one mile to complete.…

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What is Rock the River FXBG?

The Rock the River FXBG event was born to provide a complimentary event to the American Canoe Association’s annual Great Rappahannock Whitewater Canoe Race. An annual event since 1981, the Great Rappahannock Whitewater Canoe Race (GRWCR) is celebrating its 40th year in 2021. It is a volunteer-led event designed to be a competitive or a relaxed gathering for family, friends, and the community of Fredericksburg, Virginia.

As most residents of Fredericksburg will say, their beloved place has the amenities you would expect from a big city but the charm of a small town. It is located 45 minutes north of the state capital, Richmond, and one hour south of the nation’s capital, Washington, DC, and is actually on one of America’s oldest highways called Interstate 95. Being one of the cities with an exit directly off at I-95, visitors take the opportunity to see Fredericksburg as an actual tourist destination and not only one of the usual stopovers along the popular highway.

With its story dated back from the colonial times, the city’s motto “America’s Most Historic City” is arguably true. With its rich history, thousands of visitors spend a day to a week at Fredericksburg. Many of these visitors explore all the preserved sites and learn all the major battles that took place in the city. The Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862 and the Second Battle of Fredericksburg that happened the year after both left their permanent mark on the city. Evidence of gunshots and even cannonballs stuck in the walls can still be seen in many historic buildings in the city. In 1676, a fort on the banks of the Rappahannock River was built by the Virginia General Assembly just a few miles downstream from the present-day city. Over the years, as more immigrants came to America and also due to national migration, the area grew. In 1728, Fredericksburg was named as the Spotsylvania’s port county. The name is after Frederick, Prince of Wales, son of King George II. One of the famous peoples who have roots in Fredericksburg is George Washington. The first U.S. president spent his childhood in Fredericksburg. His mother, Mary, had a home downtown which is now a must-see site in the area. Washington’s sister, Betty, moved to Fredericksburg’s Kenmore Plantation after she got married. The family’s Ferry Farm was located just across the river from town. …

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