The first Hatchet Creek Festival is planned for May 18 and 19. The festival will be a two-day float trip down Hatchet Creek with a campout on Saturday night. The Coosa County office of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System is spearheading the Hatchet Creek Festival project. There is a $25 per person registration fee. There is limited space available so pre-registration is required before May 8.
Roger Vines, Coosa County Extension Coordinator says early registration is highly encouraged. "Registration will cover two meals, a Hatchet Creek Festival T-Shirt, camping and shuttle service,” says Vines. The event will go forward rain or shine.
The Festival will begin Saturday, May 18. Pre-registered participants will meet at the Highway 280 Bridge at 8:00 am and unload their boats, kayaks and camping gear. Their camping gear will be transported to the Dunnam’s Halfway Campsite. All camping gear and chairs should be well labeled with the owner’s name and contact information. Drivers will move their vehicles to the take out point below the Highway 231 bridge. A shuttle will return drivers back to the Highway 280 launch site.
On Saturday participants will have the option of floating at a casual pace or for those who like competition, there will be a canoe and kayak race down to the campsite. There will be cash awards for the first, second and third place finishes in both the canoe and kayak divisions. The race is optional. After arrival, participants will set up camp. To fill the afternoon, there will be games and recreational activities such as horseshoes, frisbees and volleyball. There will also be educational exhibits including woodcrafts, flint knapping and plant propagation. In addition, there is a fishing pond adjacent to the campsite. Porta-potties will be available at the site and drinking water provided.
The Saturday evening meal is a catfish and chicken finger dinner. After dinner, there will be guest speakers and live music. Any special dietary needs must be provided by the participants. The Coosa County Sheriff’s Department will be on hand throughout the event to provide security and assist with traffic management.
On Sunday morning, camping gear will be transported to the take out location at Highway 231. After breakfast, there will be a short devotion by Coach Bobby Jackson, who is a retired NFL football coach.
Boat launch on Sunday morning should be underway no later than 9 a.m. It is along this stretch of creek that participants will enjoy viewing the rare beauty of the Cahaba Lilies.
It will be the participant’s responsibility to bring any snacks and drinks needed while on the water. Also every boater must agree to wear an approved personal floatation device and closed toe shoes. Other items suggested include: change of clothes, towel, flashlight, first aid kit, camera, suntan lotion, hat and long sleeve shirt, and cotton gloves. Camping gear should be just the basics such as tent or hammock, sleeping bag, mattress pad, and lawn chair. A small ice chest may be useful if you want extra food or drinks at the camp site. No alcohol please. This is a family event.
Safety is important. There will be safety paddlers in all groups with experienced boaters from the Alabama Scenic River Trail group to assist as needed. However floating on a creek through wooded inaccessible areas has inherent risks. Participants must assume all liability and sign a disclaimer risk statement. The Festival suggests a minimum age of 12 to participate.
This project is funded through a Rural Alabama Initiative Grant, in cooperation with sponsors and landowners. Registration is limited because of camping space and will be closed when participant limit is reached. The registration fee is non-refundable.
REGISTRATION FOR THIS EVENT IS NOW FULL. Contact the Coosa County Extension Office (stone building behind the Coosa County Courthouse) at (256)-377-4713 or e-mail Vines at email@example.com if you have any questions about the event.
By Kelly Knowles on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 1:43 pm
About Coosa County
Hernando DeSoto was the first white man to visit what is now Coosa County in north central Alabama. The county was formed in 1832 out of lands ceded by the Creek Indians through the Treaty of Cusseta. The county was named for the Coosa River, which flows through the western part of the county and serves as the boundary between Coosa and Chilton counties.
The town of Goodwater is Coosa County's largest, but the county seat is in Rockford, 26 miles north of Wetumpka. Originally named Pondalassa by settlers, the town's name was later changed to Rockford.
The rural county's population is 34 percent black and 65 percent white. Of all adults over age 25, 53.9 percent have graduated from high school, and 6.3 percent are college graduates. The county has an elementary school, a middle school, and a high school which are centrally located in Hanover.
Hatchet Creek flows from the northeast corner of the county to the southwest corner. Considered by many to be the state's finest for canoeing, Hatchet Creek is also noted for its beds of the rare Cahaba Lily. Other attractions include the Old Rock Jail in Rockford and Flag Mountain State Park.
Coosa County's main agricultural products are timber, beef and hay. Others include catfish, horses, vegetables, fruits, nursery plants and corn. Major industries are shelving and cotton yarn.
The county Extension office employs three full-time staff members and eight Regional Agents who specialize in various areas. The Coosa County 4-H program involves approximately 100 youth.