It has been a few anxious days since we announced the cancellation of the 26th Cheat Fest. I wanted to send a message that everyone at Friends of the Cheat is doing alright, and to let you know the changes we are making in our day to day operations.
Friends of the Cheat staff are mixing it up – working from home and taking turns at the office. Meetings are now calls, and I’m quickly learning new communication tools and their quirks. I think all of our pets are enjoying the strange new flexibility. With precautions, FOC field work and construction projects continue. We have plenty to do! If you need to reach us, please send us an email or give us a call at 304-329-3621 instead of stopping by the office.
All in-person aspects of the 2020 festival have been cancelled. This includes the 5K and downriver race. We are making adaptations to certain aspects of the festival such as shifting to a virtual 5K and hosting an online silent auction. Stay current at www.cheatfest.org where you can still purchase festival tees with the awesome artwork of our buddy John K Victor.
RIVER ACCESS SITES
FOC owned and managed river access sites are open for use following CDC guidelines. However, we have closed the bathrooms at the festival site Cheat Canyon put-in. We are discouraging the gathering of groups over 10 and will monitor site use and make changes as necessary. Stay well within your skill level while undertaking any risky activity during this time – you don’t want to take up a hospital bed or distract emergency responders because you injured yourself.
Further, stay close to home with any outdoor activity. Traveling to that special camping spot or whitewater run exposes locals in rural communities with already limited health care. Think about how your actions could impact others. This article from Paddling Magazine can help – but please don’t explore new locations right now. And remember, always stay 6 feet apart from your companions, on land and in the water!
With certain precautions, getting outside is a great way to stay active, and connected. This article, shared originally by our friends at OVEC, reminds us that there are many lessons to be learned from nature. We may have to be physically distanced but we can still stay connected – like the trees in the forest.
I am humbled by how others are managing big changes in their lives. For those with children home from school, FOC has gathered some fun, educational resources to help you:
In closing, the pandemic highlights many underlying inequities in our society. With that in mind, I’d like to remind you of two important responsibilities we have as citizens and adaptations we can take to keep ourselves and other safe:
Stay safe friends.
Stay up to date with Friends of the Cheat by reading our State of the Cheat River Watershed Trifold.
2017 was a rollercoaster year for Friends of the Cheat. Our most successful Whitewater Access campaign to date was followed by the coldest, wettest Cheat River Festival ever, with unbelievable mud and low attendance.
Two Meet the Cheat events put record numbers of paddlers on the Cheat River.
While HB 2506, WV drinking water policy changes, gave us nightmares.
Through these ups and downs, you, our incredible core of supporters, have remained steady. Your support empowers us to fight for clean water and continue our mission: to restore, preserve, and promote the outstanding natural qualities of the Cheat River watershed. Your financial donations are integral to our organization; they literally keep our boots on the ground, and our lights on.
Without your sustaining support, Friends of the Cheat could never have grown into the multifaceted, successful nonprofit it is now. Without you, many of our efforts wouldn’t get off the ground. Here’s a glimpse of what your financial contributions supported in just the last year:
FOC has great things planned for 2018! We are adopting the northernmost 28 miles of the Allegheny Trail, West Virginia’s longest foot trail, which runs 330 miles from the Mason-Dixon Line in Bruceton Mills south to the WV-VA border. FOC will be responsible for the maintenance and improvement of our portion – including 12 miles of true hiking trail along the Cheat Canyon. To do this, we will be expanding our Outreach and Education program even more by leading over 600 Adventure WV students in trail-work and community service over the coming summer! Your donations will help purchase the equipment we need to perform the work, and the staff time needed to organize and lead it.
Join FOC in our dedication to safe, healthy water by becoming a sustaining member of Friends of the Cheat. And please ask what we can do for you! We would be happy to present at your local church, your child’s classroom, your clubs and associations. A watershed includes everything within its boundaries, including the people that live and recreate there and we strive to support you too! Together, we can continue to improve this beloved water source that means so much to all of us.
Since 1994, Friends of Cheat has been working to fulfill its mission of restoring, preserving, and promoting the outstanding natural qualities of the Cheat River watershed. As a supporter of our organization, you may wonder exactly what that means. The quick answer is that without your support – your financial contributions, your volunteering, your help spreading the word about our work – without you, our mission would mean very little. Our successes, our needs, and the river we all love – depend on your help. Conversely, this mission is a reflection of the many achievements Friends of Cheat can accomplish with your support.
Over the years, the backing and financial contributions of supporters like you has ultimately allowed our organization to expand its programming and make impactful on-the-ground improvements in the watershed. Today, because of you, we are engaged in all the core actions of our mission statement.
In just the last year, your financial contributions have helped Friends of the Cheat:
Other reasons 2016 rocked – FOC/DEPP partnership has been renewed for another 3 years! We hired a new technician, Brian Hurley – as Jeremy Sidebottom left to further his education and travel the world. FOC was named Top Water Conservation Group in the Southeast by Blue Ridge Outdoors.
And best of all – The Cheat River was one of 2016 EPA 319 Success Stories – declaring the Cheat River “reborn!”
April is Earth Month! Earth Day was established in the U.S. on April 22, 1970 to draw attention to the need to protect our water, air, and land from pollution. Last year over one billion people in nearly 200 countries participated in Earth Day in one way or another—many of them volunteering in support of environmental projects or initiatives in their communities. For even greater impact, the entire month of April is now considered Earth Month. FOC has many opportunities this spring for you to help restore, preserve, and promote a healthy Cheat River:
Tuesday, April 8 – Spring Newsletter Mailing, FOC Offices, 119 South Price Street, Kingwood
Fold and label nearly 1,200 newsletters for mailing to FOC donors, partners, and community leaders. Extra hands and good conversation makes this task a breeze. The work party starts at 10am at the Friends of the Cheat office. The group will call it quits by 3pm. E-mail Valorie to RSVP or for more information: email@example.com
Tentative – Wednesday, April 9 – Finish Up Spring Newsletter Mailing, 10am-3pm. RSVP to Valorie.
Saturday, April 12 – Adopt-a-Highway Route 26 Cleanup, Albright
Pitch in and help FOC care for its 3-mile stretch of Route 26. Meet at 10am at the pavilion behind the Albright Quick Stop. Gloves, trash bags, safety vests, and water provided. With 9 energetic volunteers the cleanup lasts only about 2 hours. The more the merrier! Weather dependent – backup date April 13 at 1pm. Email Amanda with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, April 13 – Festival Site Spring Cleaning, 139 Beech Run Road, Albright
Meet at 12 noon to help prepare for FOC’s largest fundraiser of the year by joining the crew at the Festival site to remove downed limbs and sticks prior to mowing. Wear rugged shoes and bring work gloves. Pickup trucks also helpful. E-mail Emma to RSVP, offer equipment or special services, or for more information: email@example.com
Saturday, April 26 – Upper Cheat River Water Trail River Sweep, Parsons Area
Float the Parsons area of the Upper Cheat River Water Trail, removing streamside litter and debris for safe and beautiful paddling experiences. Blackwater Outdoor Adventures (BOA) will coordinate boats and shuttle—meet at BOA’s St. George location at 10am. Pickup trucks welcome. Contact Patrick at BOA for more information or to offer special services/equipment. Weather dependent – backup date April 27. RSVP required. Patrick McCann – E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (304)478-3775
Cheat River Festival Volunteer Opportunities – Volunteers are the backbone of our Festival!
The 20th annual Cheat River Festival will be held May 2 & 3 at the Friends of the Cheat festival grounds in Albright, WV. Contact Kelli Geswein in advance to schedule a volunteer shift (304)379-8719 or email@example.com. There are many different ways to help, most shifts are 4 hours:
May 1 & 2 – Festival setup Thursday & Friday. Flag booth and parking layouts, install signage, move heavy things around, and generally get the grounds prepped for the weekend.
May 2 – Cheat River Massacre-ence Downriver Race. Help Friday afternoon and evening with directing traffic, registration, timing, and the awards ceremony and after party. You must contact Kevin in advance to volunteer: firstname.lastname@example.org
May 2 – Friday Night VIP Event. Help with parking, greet the guests, and give away prizes at our special invite-only 20th anniversary Fest warm-up party. Contact Amanda to help with this specific event: email@example.com
May 3 – Cheat Fest 5K, Saturday morning foot race. Volunteers needed for parking, registration, refreshments, and course support. Race starts at 10am.
May 3 – 20th Cheat River Festival. Lots of roles to fill from gates shifts, grounds crew, setup and cleanup.
May 4 – Festival wrap up. Dismantle tents, move chairs and tables, sort recyclables, and pack up until next year. Helps cure your hangover. Coffee provided by FOC.
Volunteer at the most bad-ass trail race on the East Coast and raise money for the Cheat!
June 13 – 14, Ragnar Appalachia Trail Race, Big Bear Lake, Hazelton
Join Friends of the Cheat’s volunteer team at the east’s most challenging trail race hosted by Ragnar Trail Relays. Teams of 4 and 8 will run a total of 120 miles on three rugged loops around Big Bear Lake. For each 4-5 hour volunteer shift filled by FOC, FOC will earn a $60 donation! Help with parking and team registration Friday and Saturday. You don’t have to be a runner to appreciate this epic event—over 275 teams are expected in this event’s second year. You must contact Amanda to volunteer: Amanda@cheat.org or (304)329-3621
Spring is finally here… and so is the full band lineup for Cheat Fest 2013!
We’re excited to have fest newcomers Shivering Timbers and Wheels join a batch of returning favorites: Bob Shank, Lindsey & Ty Jaquay of Meadow Run, Jason Jaros of the Halftime String Band, BiBs & Barefeet, From the Hip, Hillbilly Gypsies, Rising Regina, and the Lewis Brothers. Huge thanks to Joan Pitzer for once again bringing such great musicians to the fest!
1:00 – 2:00 | In the Round… with Bob Shank, Meadow Run, & Jason Jaros
2:15 – 3:15 | BiBs & Barefeet
3:30 – 4:30 | Shivering Timbers
5:00 – 6:00 | Wheels
6:15 – 7:15 | From the Hip
7:30 – 8:30 | Hillbilly Gypsies
8:45 – 9:45 | Rising Regina
10:00- 11:00 | The Lewis Brothers
Our Entertainment Coordinator Joan has been searching far and wide this year for Festival acts and we are excited to announce a few teasers to get you thinking about Spring!
Welcome back our flatlander friends…the Lewis Brothers!
Last year was their first appearance on the Cheatfest stage but they had the crowd hooked like a small mouth bass on a night-crawler! (No offense to you die-hard fly fishermen and women.) They are stoked to come back and entertain the masses with their upbeat tunes and on-stage antics…yes, I’m referring to crazy-hat wearing and kazoo playing Dennis the Menace!
Check out their website so you can sing along come May 4th!
New to the Fest this year is husband-wife duo, Shivering Timbers! “Flirting with the blues and verging on the psychedelic…their songs build and build until they reach an epic crescendo, rock ‘n’ roll is born.” -Dayton City Paper Their list of venues is impressive and they have toured with or been direct support for many great acts including Kenny Loggins, Jessica Lea Mayfield, The Chapin Sisters, and David Wax Museum. We are so excited to have them bring their unique style to the banks of the mighty Cheat!
Mark your calendars for the 19th annual Cheat River Festival–Saturday, May 4th!
Local Non-Profit Seeks Festival Coordinator
Friends of the Cheat, Inc. a non-profit, grassroots, watershed group based out of Kingwood, WV is seeking a coordinator for the annual Cheat River Festival held on the first Saturday of May since 1994. The Festival Coordinator will be responsible for handling all aspects of festival coordination and execution, including: leading Friends of the Cheat’s Festival Committee; serving as the primary point of contact for festival vendors, key volunteer leaders, and the press; recruiting and coordinating vendors and exhibitors; developing and managing event advertising, marketing materials, and associated grant writing; procuring goods and services related to the festival such as fest merchandise and contractors (sound, security, sanitation, etc.); procuring donations of goods and services for silent auction and raffles; assisting the volunteer coordinator with volunteer recruitment and management; researching alternative parking procedures; updating and maintaining the festival website and social media outlets; drafting/compiling a festival manual for comprehensive record keeping; and leading the setup, execution, and cleanup of the 2013 festival to be held May 4, 2013. The Festival Coordinator will also work with and provide input to the Festival Site Committee to develop long-term site development plans. The successful Festival Coordinator must be able to coordinate with veteran festival volunteers to maintain and expand the popular aspects of the festival while balancing the organization’s desire to improve the status quo for a more meaningful festival experience and maximized profits.
The successful applicant will be competent in MS Office and possess strong verbal communication skills. Excellent organizational skills are a must. Attention to detail, flexibility, and the ability to both work unsupervised and be a team player is key to success. Graphic design knowledge and experience with WordPress websites is beneficial but not required.
Friends of the Cheat is offering this position as a $5K contract with a potential cash bonus based on festival profits. The ideal contract period is from 1/15/13 through 6/15/13. Hours will gradually increase from about 10 hours per week to full time as the festival date approaches and taper off during the wrap up period after. Evening and weekend work is required; however, the work schedule is flexible and many duties may be completed from an adequately equipped home office. Festival related travel and mobile phone reimbursement will be built into the contract.
Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, and list of three references with contact information by Friday, January 4th to Friends of the Cheat. E-mail submissions are preferred to Amanda@cheat.org. Send hard copies to: Amanda Pitzer, Executive Director, Friends of the Cheat, 119 South Price St., Suite 206, Kingwood, WV 26537.