The whitewater kayak park in Canon City has been hosting the Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival since 2010 when it first opened. The park was created by manipulating the bottom of the Arkansas river to form a wave. Each of the features in the whitewater park are created by the use of large cement blocks that are specifically shaped so that the water of the river will flow over them and create a wave that will allow kayaks to surf on them. This project created two features and also cleaned up the river through Centennial Park. This entailed pulling a copious amount of metal out of the river and cleaning up and re-enforcing the shores. The entire project took just a few years to complete and opened in April of 2010. The project cost roughly $450K to build and is free to the public.
All of the money raised from the Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival goes back to the community of Canon City. The proceeds from the Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival are split up: 40% goes back to the whitewater park, 10% to Fremont Adventure Recreation for outdoor activities, 25% to the Canon City Recreation District for youth programs, 25% to the Fremont Community Foundation which is donated back to non profits in the community.
The Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival though only a few years old has created quite a stir in the community. The festival has grow in numbers every year since it’s start, this year’s numbers hovered just below 10,000 people. The Festival offers a variety of events such as the Raft Masters’ Raft Rodeo, Peddle Paddle Battle and the FAR Whitewater Adventure Race. It also has numerous vendors, activities for the little guys and of course great music.