News Stories

First annual Falls Lake Festival makes a splash

Published April 23, 2008

   On April 12th, the Falls Lake staff helped put on the first ever Falls Lake Festival.  What started as an idea from a local citizen has grown into what will become an annual event for Falls Lake.  Chuck Arkell, owner of Paddle Creek/Neuse River Outfitters came up with the idea of celebrating all that Falls Lake and the Neuse River have to offer our local community.  Not a shy man, Chuck came to the Corps with the idea, and he and Corps staff immediately began bringing this idea to life.  The festival setting was a meandering path from Paddle Creek's shop at the toe of Falls Dam, through the Tailrace Fishing Area, on to the top of Falls Dam, and down to the lake itself.  With food and commercial vendors on Paddle Creek's property, we had plenty of room for local government, state agencies, and non-profit groups at the Tailrace and on the dam.  Anyone who had anything to do with Falls Lake and the Neuse River was invited to come and set up a booth to promote their group and safe outdoor recreation.

 Agencies who set up booths included the Corps, NC Division of Parks and Recreation, Blue Jay Point County Park, the Friends of the Mountains to the Sea Trail, the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, the BW Wells Association, and the City of Raleigh Adventure Program.  The Falls Community Fire Department even came with their fire truck and boat - talk about excitement for the kids!!

    Perhaps the biggest draw, what really brought people out was the opportunity to try a kayak first hand, for free!  By having a partner like Paddle Creek in this event, we were able to supply boats for kids and adults alike to try out on the lake.  The paddling community around Falls Lake is relatively large, however it's not nearly as large as the powerboat community.  Having the kayaks at the festival gave us this wonderful opportunity to be able to promote boating along with fitness!  Of course, safety was a paramount concern.  Everyone was wearing their PFD's and the American Canoe Association had a 'rescue paddler' on the water as well, just in case. 

    The event ran for about two hours before the weather turned on us and we were rained out.  However, in those two hours attendance was estimated at 100 people.  Everyone involved was ecstatic with the turnout - especially for our first attempt!  So, next April, if you happen to be up our way, stop on by and join us for the Second Annual Falls Lake Festival.