River Festivals – Quimby's Cruising Guide

River Festivals

Let’s face it, 2020 was not the best of years for nearly everything — including events. Luckily, with the official 2021 boating season just around the corner, events are back — and that means the sound of boats on the water and people on the banks of river festivals around the Heartland. Take a look at our list of five Riverfront Festivals that are worth the trip.

Chattanooga: Moon River Festival

Photo: https://www.moonriverfestival.com/premium

Tucked on a nice little bend of the Tennessee River with the Appalachian Mountains as a backdrop, Coolidge Riverfront Park in Chattanooga hosts the annual Moon River Festival. The 2021 Festival will run from September 11 -12 and feature the likes of Wilco and The Indigo Girls. More information can be found via their website here: https://www.moonriverfestival.com/

Captain’s Notes
Erwin Marine on the Riverfront
201 Riverfront Pkwy.
Chattanooga, TN 37402
(423) 266-1316
Dockage: Transient docking available with call. Max LOA: 645′.
Fuel: Gas and diesel
Electric: 30/50 amp
Amenities: Water, ice, restrooms, pumpout, repair services, groceries and lodging.
Hours: Open year-round, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. VHF Channel: 16

Mobile: Bay Bites Food Truck Festival

Photo: https://www.mobilebaykeeper.org/

Situated at the end of the Ten-Tom Waterway, this metro area offers a culinary getaway along the calm waters of The Mobile Bay. The annual Bay Bites Food Truck Festival offers up some of the best local fare with one-of-a-kind southern hospitality. The festival also benefits local charities that promote clean and healthy waterways in the areas. The 2021 event will be on July 24 from 5 – 9 PM. More information can be found here: https://www.cityofmobile.org/bay-bites-food-truck-festival/

Captain’s Notes
Dog River Marina & Boatworks
5004 Dauphin Island Pkwy.
Mobile, AL 36605
(251) 471-4517
Dockage: Transient docking available with call. Max LOA: 150′.
Approach/Dockside Depth (reported): 20′/10’
Fuel: Gas and diesel
Electric: 30/50/100 amp
Amenities: Water, ice, restrooms, pumpout, restrooms, showers, laundry, 70-ton lift, full-service repairs, marine supplies, West Marine store, courtesy car and free WiFi.
Hours: Open year-round. VHF Channel: 16

Grafton: Blues Festival

Photo: https://www.riversandroutes.com/event/grafton-winery-blues-festival/3951/

Located on one of the widest stretches of the Mississippi River and the confluence of the Illinois River, Grafton, Ill. packs a large punch in a small space. Hosted at Grafton Winery, the annual free-to-attend Blues Festival features regional artists, local wine and plates full of smoked pork and chicken sandwiches. This year’s edition will take place from May 22 – 23. For more information and the music lineup visit: https://www.riversandroutes.com/event/grafton-winery-blues-festival/3951/

Captain’s Notes
Grafton Harbor
215 W. Water St.
Grafton, IL 62037
(618) 786-7678
Dockage: Transient docking available.
Approach/Dockside Depth (reported): 10’
Fuel: Gas and diesel
Electric: 30/50/250 amp
Amenities: Pumpout, concierge dock service, showers, laundry, ship store, floating winery, picnic area, WiFi, handicap accessible, restaurant, bar, swimming pool, hot tub, mechanical repairs, rental cars and nearby stores, dining and airport.
Hours: Open 9 a.m. to10 p.m., Sunday to Thursday; 9 a.m. to 1 a.m., Friday; 9 a.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday. VHF Channel: 16/68

Memphis: World BBQ Championships

Photo: https://www.memphistravel.com/

BBQ and Memphis go together just as well as a boat on water, and there is no better place to host the annual World Championship BBQ Contest. Held at Tom Lee Park on the banks of the Mississippi River, the annual four-day event features some of the best smokers in the biz — with over 100k up-for-grabs in prize money. Attendees will get a chance to sample ribs, wings, hot sauce and “anything but pulled pork”. The 2021 attendance is limited, so advance ticket purchases are required here: https://www.memphisinmay.org/events/world-championship-barbecue-cooking-contest/

Captain’s Notes
Memphis Yacht Club
1875 McKellar Lake Drive
Memphis, TN 38109
(901) 947-7100
Dockage: Transient docking available for open and covered slips.
Fuel: No Fuel
Electric: 30/50 amp
Amenities: Water, ice, phone, pumpout, boat transporting, ramp, restrooms, shower, laundry, drydock, boat and prop repairs, nearby groceries.
Hours: Open year-round. VHF Channel: 16

Pittsburgh: Three Rivers Arts Festival

Photo: https://traf.trustarts.org/

At the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers, the Pittsburgh skyline is unmistakable — making it a great location for riverfront events. The annual Three Rivers Arts Festival provides ten days of Art + Music, including an in-person artist market made up of over 150 local artists selling hand-made fine arts and fine crafts. Along with the markets at various parks in the area, there is a free-to-attend concert with live music from June 4 – 13. For a full list of galleries and experiences visit: https://traf.trustarts.org/digital-arts-festival/know-before-you-go

Captain’s Notes
Lock Wall One Marina
Foot of 23rd St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 965-3014
Dockage: Transient docking available with call. Max LOA: 46’ slips.
Electric: 30/50 amp
Amenities: Restrooms, showers, restaurants and lounges. Hours: Open May 1 to October 15; hours vary. VHF Channel: 16

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