Friday, September 20, 2013

GAF 2013: What to Expect

NOC's wildly popular Guest Appreciation Festival will finally be here next weekend (September 27-29), and will be significantly improved thanks to some changes based on feedback from the past few events.  Here is the list of some of the biggest changes you should look out for:
    A scene from the GAF Used Gear Marketplace on River Left.
  • The Used Gear Marketplace is Moving Back to River Left. GAF's popular used gear marketplace moves back to the middle of the festival ground, ensuring that all of the 5,000 GAF attendees will browse the marketplace.  So, grab some friends and pitch in for a booth at GAF to sell your gear fast! Marketplace applications are still available for $75 for the weekend.  Apply here.
  • New "Gear Swap" Area will be Available - This area is for guests who just have one or two items to sell at GAF.  Instead of buying a full booth, you will be able to take advantage of a designated gear swap area for your items. While this area won't have premiere placement like the used gear marketplace, it does give individuals a venue to sell their boats. Click here for the Gear Swap guidelines.
  • New "Buy-It-Now" Option - Many guests come out especially for sweet deals from the Paddling School's instructional fleet and the Outfitter's Store's demo fleet. These buyers usually have to wait until the Saturday morning sell begins, hoping that other guests don't snag their boat before they can buy it. This year, we're offering a "Buy-It-Now" option where guests can purchase one of these instruction or demo boats on Friday for an extra $99.  This gives you the security of knowing that you can get the exact boat you want without having to camp out overnight. 
  • This year, every boat purchase from the Outfitter's Store Gear Sale comes with a 15% off voucher for a clinic or private instruction session with NOC's Paddling School.  This gives buyers the opportunity to enjoy improve their paddling skills while upgrading their boat.
NOC Outfitter's Store Gear Sale
So that's what's new at this year's Guest Appreciation Festival. Be sure to learn more about the deals and entertainment we have planned by clicking here. We have more than 100 boats we want to move, so expect great deals on great boats all weekend long!

Where to Park: GAF 2013

To make your visit as enjoyable as possible, please read the following information about parking before traveling to NOC for the Guest Appreciation Festival on September 27-29.  This is the official event parking plan: 

  • We expect most guests will be able to park on-site on Friday and Sunday. When you arrive at NOC, drive across the bridge and let our friendly parking staff direct you to an open spot. Please take their advice, and park efficiently so everyone can park on-property.
  • If on-property parking is full--as we expect for Saturday morning and afternoon--we will have convenient satellite lots open within one or two miles of the event site. We'll also provide easy, dependable shuttles to the event for all visitors parking in these lots. 
    • If coming from the east (Asheville, Charlotte, etc.) you will see "Event Parking" signs directing you to the open lot at the Gem Mine which is visible from the main highway. 
    • If coming from the west (Chattanooga, Knoxville, etc.) you will drive past NOC where a parking attendant will direct you to the Gem Mine by following the signs. 
  • From here you will have shuttles available for the duration of the event.   Event shuttles will drop off and pick up at the NOC General Store on a continuous schedule until 7pm. The Gem Mine is just up the street, so riding a shuttle is often easier and more convenient than searching every nook and cranny of NOC for a space.

    As a reminder, please don't park alongside Silvermine road.
    We've seen too many festival attendees get tickets on this road over the years, even though it looks like there are pullouts. 

NOC is also offering free shuttles to the Wayah Forest Service Put-In for those who choose to leave their cars off-property while they are on the river. We usually do this as a thank you to guests helping us avoid a parking crunch during Saturday at GAF. In other words, if you paddle into GAF we'd be glad to drive you back to your car when you're finished. (Just make sure you catch the last rafting bus headed to the put in around 3:30. With all the extra traffic on the river, it should be pretty easy to thumb a ride to the top with another boater this weekend anyway.)

Finally, NOC, in partnership with Endless River Adventures, is offering free shuttles for paddlers running the Upper Nantahala and Cascades section of the Nantahala River on Saturday and Sunday.  Upper shuttles will run from 10am to 4pm. Please "RSVP" for a shuttle by going to the event's Facebook page and letting our staff know your plans. We're just trying to get a good idea of demand; we don't need specific times,

Please note that all GAF remote parking lots close at 7pm. We’d love for you to stay to enjoy the free live music and dancing, so please make your way up to the lots as the afternoon progresses to move your car back down to the center. It’ll make life easier for you when it’s time to go home.

Thanks for planning ahead!

Live Music lined up well into the evening on Friday and Saturday

Check Out What's Happening: GAF 2013

Every year, NOC celebrates another great season of outdoor recreation by offering unbeatable deals on gear and apparel and by providing a weekend full of free, fun outdoor lifestyle events. This is our famous Guest Appreciation Festival, or simply "GAF."

Here are the top 6 things to look forward to during GAF weekend, September 27-29, at NOC:

  1. Family-Friendly Activities - With a variety of kid's activities, GAF is a perfect time to bring the family to NOC for a beautiful fall weekend! This year we will have a bounce house, face painting, button making, coloring, games and much more for the whole family to enjoy.  Last year, the kids activities were on the tennis courts, but this year they will be closer to the festival, making it easier for parents to play too!
  2. Snakes, Stories and Survival - Join Steve Longenecker for a hands-on lesson about snakes living in our region and around the world, Tim Hall for exciting, humorous mountain-themed stories and Appalachian folktales or sit in for a lesson on how to survive in the wilderness, courtesy of NOC's Survival School.
  3. Discount on NOC Activities - As a thank you for your support and loyalty to NOC, we invite you to go whitewater rafting down the Nantahala River, take a ride on the Mountaintop Zip Line Tour or challenge yourself in the Zip Line Adventure Park for 15% off! Reserve your trip for GAF weekend, September 27-29, and use code "GAF15" to redeem this special discount.
  4. Upper Nantahala and Cascade Releases - If you are a class IV-V kayaker, this weekend is perfect for you! The Upper Nantahala and Cascades Section of the Nantahala River will be running on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5 pm.  We are offering free shuttles for this release in partnership with Endless River Adventures.  Sign up here to give us an idea of how many people to expect for the shuttles!
  5. Of Course, the Gear Sales - Get your outdoor gear from NOC's Used Gear Sale or the Guest Gear Marketplace at some of the lowest prices you will find.  From paddling and rafting gear to clothing and accessories, these marketplaces will have something for everyone! To sign up for a booth to sell your own gear, click here.
  6. U.S. Slalom National Championships - Watch the nation's best racers carve up the exciting Nantahala Falls course on Saturday and Sunday morning. The winners will be crowned the national champions for 2013, so the competition will be fierce. Find out more from the Nantahala Racing Club
Soar above the tree tops on the Mountaintop Zip Line Tour
Thanks for another great season! We look forward to seeing you at GAF.

For more information and a full schedule for GAF 2013, click here.

GAF 2013: Live Music Line Up

NOC's Guest Appreciation Festival is not only packed with deals and activities, but also with free live music. Check out the lineup below and plan your schedule accordingly:

2 PM - The Night Trotters
From Asheville, The Night Trotters offer "Thoroughbred Bluegrass Music" that's 100% traditional and true to the "old sound." 

5:30 PM - Common Foundation
"Playing a blend of downtempo reggae, chugging Jamaican rocksteady and upbeat ska, Common Foundation fills the air with infectious danceable rhythms and an easygoing atmosphere" This show promises to be a perfect after-work start to GAF weekend. 

9 PM - Lefty Williams Band
A one-armed guitarist playing traditional southern rock and blues, Lefty Williams brings an Allman Brothers sound to the GAF stage.

2 PM - Buncombe Turnpike
Out of Asheville, Buncombe Turnpike brings traditional and contemporary bluegrass to the stage. PLaying songs from their fifth album "Forever it Will Be" these accomplished musicians are a can't-miss show on Saturday afternoon.

5:30 PM - Packway Handle Band
An NOC guest favorite,  Packway Handle Band is a bluegrass quintet from Athens, GA that mixes bluegrass with unique covers and high energy beats presenting the audience with a dynamic and upbeat performance. PHB has played some of the biggest shows NOC has ever hosted.

9 PM - Antique Firearms
At the top of the music scene in Asheville, Antique Firearms brings a unique repertoire of experimental, rock and alternative music reminiscent of Radiohead and My Morning Jacket. Perfect music for a Saturday evening party.

We hope to see you out on the dance floor this year!

Click here for a full GAF schedule.