News Column

Kevin's Lazy River Adventure to feature live entertainment, free picnic at this year's event

July 25, 2014

By Shawnee Moran, Charleston Daily Mail, W.Va.

July 25--Kevin's Lazy River Adventure, an annual summer event in Boone County, will be bigger than ever this Saturday featuring a free picnic and live entertainment from Charleston's bluegrass and rock 'n' roll group Total Meltdown.

Teresa Purdue, the event's organizer, said it has grown steadily since its first year when 51 people participated in the river float.

Now, she said organizers expect to have more than 250 people on the river and around 350 people at the picnic if the weather cooperates.

"It's one of the best days on a river that anyone could ever experience. Everybody that comes in has the biggest smile on their face and they love it," she said.

The event is in remembrance of Ashford resident Kevin Kinder, who died several years ago after battling skin cancer.

"Kevin was my best friend and he passed away too soon," she said. "He just loved the river and everyone in the community loved Kevin."

Purdue said after talking with Kinder's sister after his death, the name for the event came up and they thought it would be a perfect way of honoring him.

"I couldn't think of anything better but to name it after Kevin," she said.

The seventh annual floating adventure will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday on a 10 1/2-mile float down the Big Coal River.

People will begin the float at John Slack Park in Racine and exit the water at Dartmont Park in Ashford, where a free picnic will be open to the public.

Mary Browning, the head of the coal river branch of the Coal River Group, said she is excited to see the outcome of this year's event.

She said the organization sees repeat participants from all over the state every year, and this year people from asa far away as Morgantown will join the float.

There will also be live music at the river float this year.

"This will be the first time we will have had any entertainment and we are looking forward to that. They will be playing after they get out of the river at the picnic -- they are also kayakers," she said.

Total Meltdown members Jeremy Davis and Jamie Bailey participated in the float last year and decided they wanted to be more involved this year. Davis said all of the band members are fans of kayaking and will participate in the float this year before performing.

The plan is to set up at the end of the float, jump in a kayak at John Slack Park and play for everyone once they reach Dartmont Park.

"It's a lot of fun and gathers a lot of people together. Last year when we were over there we noticed a lack of entertainment," Davis said.

"I hope a bunch of people start dancing and stomping their feet. That's what we're all about high energy and a lot of fun. I hope to get that kind of reaction and that's what we always do."

Browning said no experience is necessary in order to participate in the float.

"We have first-timers that rent a kayak or canoe, go out and enjoy themselves and then they are hooked," she said adding they love the beauty of the river and mountains. "We haven't had anybody that said they won't come back -- they always say they will come back next year."

Browning said they are fully prepared for situations that may arise on the water and or on the land during the event.

"The Boone County White Water Rescue team is on the river to see to the safety of the people. They will have 20 EMT's on the river," Browning said. "We are very pleased to have them. They do a great job."

Cabela's, Coal River Energy, Harvey Enterprises, Inc., WV Land Trust and several other sponsors have provided funding for this year's free picnic.

The event runs from noon to 5 p.m. and will feature picnic foods like hot dogs and chili, watermelon and coleslaw.

Both Purdue and Browning commented on how appreciative they are for volunteers at the event who contribute food for the picnic and make sure participants stay safe.

"I'd like to thank all of my volunteers because if it wasn't for them it wouldn't go off," Purdue said.

For more information about the Kevin's Lazy River Adventure visit

Contact writer Shawnee Moran at 304-348-4872 or Follow her on Twitter on


(c)2014 the Charleston Daily Mail (Charleston, W.Va.)

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Source: Charleston Daily Mail (WV)

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