When the right formula of underwater rocks and gradient and water flow combine in a whitewater river, a strange thing is created.

The water forms a wave, smooth as glass until it’s broken by gently boiling backcurrent.

If you’re paying attention, and you drop into it correctly, and you make the right moves, you can make a kayak or canoe or even a raft surf that wave—it holds you in its current like you belong there. You can play across the wave like a child and never want to leave.


I kind of felt that way at this year’s Riverfest. This was my fifth time at Riverfest, and it felt like all of the pieces fell together in a beautiful alchemy.

The dark clouds that were lurking around earlier in the day cleared before we started. The crabs and barbecue and catfish and other food seemed to taste a little bit better this year. I could’ve sat and listened to the band play all night long.

And the people were, as usual, wonderful to be around. Everyone was in a good mood, a generous mood, and everyone seemed to be intent on forging good memories that night. I guess it felt, once again, like Riverfest brought together the best of who we are as a community, just as the Rappahannock binds our community together and nourishes us.

It was the perfect wave, and I was glad to be riding it with the rest of you.

Chris Muldrow, FOR Board of Directors