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2014 Canoegrass brings the best river music festival to Miami Valley

Spend the weekend camping and enjoying great bluegrass music
Spend the weekend camping and enjoying great bluegrass music
Photograph taken by Danielle Coots

It didn’t matter how you got there, either by canoe, kayak or tube, but keeping afloat until you heard the sweet sound of bluegrass music was the idea. The Second Annual Canoegrass Festival was held last weekend at Adventures on the Great Miami on Ross Road in Tipp City in partnership with Tomfoolery Outfitters.

Tomfoolery Outdoors Festival
Photograph by Danielle Coots

About 350 people attended the weekend long music festival and campout, where the banks of the Miami River was transformed into a music arena and the water was crowded with canoes, kayaks, floats and a floating band stage. "Paddle faster, I hear bluegrass" was the theme for this year’s event.

“We heard good things about it last year, so we wanted to come and check it out,” Elvia Jones and Tony Parks from Columbus said. “It just feels so comfortable here and welcoming. We're definitely going to come back next year.”

Tom Hilbig, owner of Tomfoolery Outfitters teamed up with Chris Jackson, owner of Jackson Excavating & Concrete and Adventures on the Great Miami to host the event. “I’ve been hogging this land for the past 23 years and figured it was time to share it,” Jackson said. “I have this amazing property and over 40 primitive camp sites in the woods and Tom wanted to utilize the space for events.”

The partnership paid off. It's the perfect location for many events planned by Tomfoolery Outfitters. “Chris and I have known each other for a couple of years and we decided to enter into a partnership where I’m the event coordinator and use his land to host events. Chris wanted to draw attention to his property and I invite people out here and make them feel welcome, get them out on the river and just have a really great time,” Hilbig said. “It’s a great place for people to hang out, so, it’s a perfect combination. Where else would you find a better location than this?”

Nestled along the Miami River on over 200 acres of wooded land, Canoegrass offered more than just a great weekend of bluegrass music by bands such as Woody Pines, Blue Caboose, Still Water River Band and many more, but also offered one of the longest slip-n-slides, canoe jousting competitions, squirt gun battles, rope swings, corn toss competitions, volleyball, campfire jams and even a weekend of relaxation with fishing, hiking and biking. Tomfoolery’s motto is to live an active outdoors every day. This event was just one more way to provide the opportunity to let the kid inside come out and play.

“I did that stand-up paddleboard trip at the beginning of the summer and this is the only place on my 156- mile journey down the river that's like this,” Hilbig said. “It’s the only place that offers camping, kayaking, canoeing along the river. So, this awareness has drawn attention to this event and makes it very special.”

Campers at Canoegrass were from all walks of life. Walking along the banks of the river, visitors were of the young and old. Young couples brought children while others hung out with their friends drinking and laughing. Older folks sat alongside the banks and enjoyed the great music.

Liz, Kev and little Brennon Castle were on their way to the giant slip-in-slide. “We’re having a blast,” said Liz Castle. “His [their son Brennon] favorite part is the tight ropes.”

Tomfoolery and the Adventures on the Great Miami will team up again for River Rampage on September 16.

For more information contact Tom Helbig at Tomfoolery Outdoors at (937)417-2228 or Chris Jackson at Adventures on the Great Miami at (937)266-6252.

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