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  • Atlanta Northcutt

Reggae at Smooth Rapids Cancelled, but Smooth Rapids Continues to Be Smoother Than Ever

By: Atlanta Northcutt -- Reporter for the Southern Standard



The Grill at Smooth Rapids

Kayaking trip with Smooth Rapids Outfitters




The popular local music festival, Reggae at Smooth Rapids, has been cancelled indefinitely. However, the restaurant, kayaking and tubing adventures and campgrounds, which are the heart of Smooth Rapids, continue to thrive and be loved by the community.


For the past five years the event took place the first weekend of August on the grounds of Smooth Rapids. This summer, the festival is cancelled, and at this time is believed to be discontinued for the unforeseeable future.


“A variety of different reasons is the cause for ending the event,” says co-owner of Smooth Rapids Jimmy Barker. “We may do other smaller events, but Reggae at Smooth Rapids will not take place.”


The crowds at Reggae at Smooth Rapids increased each year with the majority of those in attendance being from out-of-town and surrounding communities. A multitude of local artists and small businesses, along with a wide variety of food vendors, had booths throughout the main area of the festival.


The family-friendly event continued to grow in the number of singers and groups participating, as well as the level of fame from certain acts, such as headliner, Afroman, a Grammy-nominated rapper.


Although the two-day music festival is no more, Barker states there will still be some smaller musical activities taking place, such as some intimate acoustic performances on the back porch of the restaurant.


Smooth Rapids is now putting all of their efforts and focus into the restaurant, kayaking and tubing rentals and campgrounds they are best known and loved for.


When Smooth Rapids Outfitters first opened its doors as a kayaking rental company in April 2012, no one could have predicted its expansion into becoming so much more, or the amount of influence it would have on the community.


They have become the number one kayaking and tubing rental spot in Warren County, built a popular restaurant where the townspeople can come together for weekly game and karaoke nights and developed campgrounds for visitors and locals to enjoy the outdoors.


The Grill at Smooth Rapids has the feel of a laid-back, cozy cabin in the woods, where you can kick back with friends on the spacious back porch of the restaurant over-looking the river while enjoying a drink and delicious meal. The restaurant serves up high-end bar food, including their popular wings and Monster Burgers, at low prices. Local craft beers from Calf Killer Brewery, Little Harpeth Brewing Company and McMinnville’s own Depot Bottom Brewery are on tap for patrons of age to enjoy. Expect kind, quality service and good people in a family-friendly atmosphere.


The building is mostly constructed from materials recycled from the old house that previously stood on the location, creating a homey and warm atmosphere. Smooth Rapids provides a place for the community to gather and get to know each other better by offering game nights, karaoke and live music on the porch.


The Grill at Smooth Rapids is filled with laughter, a little competition and friendly connections being made while Opinionation, a Family Feud-style game, and Trivia nights take place. Both game nights are free and open to whoever wants to come and have a good time. Winners receive a gift-certificate to Smooth Rapids. A large variety of board games are available for kids to play while their parents enjoy their own games or for adults who simply want to play the games themselves with a group of friends. A new basement area has been added with a pool table, darts, jukebox and giant Jenga set for more fun.


Located on the beautiful Barren Fork River, there are multiple floating excursions offered by the Smooth Rapids Outfitters depending on the kayakers’ experience level and distance they’d like to go.


There are easy and quick floating options, as well as special tandem-kayaks available for families with young children, the elderly and people with disabilities. These tandem-kayaks are perfect for those who can’t paddle themselves but want to be a part of the river experience. Smooth Rapids Outfitters also provides longer rides, where participants can stop on the sandbars and beaches along the river to grill, swim and enjoy a full day of adventure.


The packages provided include the Jackson Kayak brand kayaks, paddles and life jackets, as well as shuttling patrons to their specific put-in point, hauling the boats and paddles to the water, unloading and loading them onto the trailer and picking the kayakers up from their finish point to shuttle them back to Smooth Rapids.


These amenities are also available for fishermen who want to travel the longer, less-populated parts of the river and camp overnight. The TWRA gives mesh trash bags for any garbage a person may need to dispose of while kayaking or tubing to avoid polluting the river. The only thing one has to worry about is bringing sunscreen, snacks and refreshments for the trip, and most importantly, having a wonderful time on the water.


Camp grounds are open throughout the year for overnight RV, tent and hammock camping. The property has sources for electricity, water, fire pits, portable toilets and even Wi-Fi readily available for campers to use, as well as firewood for sale. The land lies in the front of the Barren Fork River. The camping experience at Smooth Rapids gives campers the feeling of staying deep in the woods while still being in the backyard of the city of McMinnville, close to everything the town has to offer.


Smooth Rapids is located at 245 Durham Street and is open all-year with Smooth Rapids Grill, and kayaks and tubes rentals during nice days with appropriate weather conditions. The main kayaking and tubing season starts at the beginning of March. Book online 24-hours beforehand at smoothrapids.com or call (931) 4-KAYAK-1 for prices and information. Call the restaurant at 931-452-9251 for hours or to make a reservation for private or special occasions.

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