Guest Appreciation Festival (GAF)

Date: September 22 - 24, 2017

Time: 8 am - 9 pm

Price: Free

Age: All Ages

NOC's Guest Appreciation Festival is our way of saying "Thank You" to you! We have something for everyone. Snag the best in outdoor gear and apparel at stunningly low prices from our new and used gear sale with names include The North Face, Chaco, Dagger Kayaks, KEEN and more. Boaters, take advantage of our free shuttles for the Cascades and Upper Nantahala recreational releases. Learn a new craft from one of our craft vendors. Join in on the fun with our family-friendly games and activites including corn hole, giant jenga, face painting, a bounce house, a live raptor show and more! Or dance the night away to live music on the banks of the Nantahala River. It's a weekend of incredible sales, whitewater, outdoor fun and gratitude! See you there. 

Event Highlights

NOC Used Gear Sale: This is it - the ultimate gear sale! Get big savings on boats, paddles and equipment used by NOC Adventure Programs and Paddling School.

Guest Gear Marketplace: Barter or sell used gear in our Used Gear "Street Market." Guests selling multiple items must apply for a vendor space. Link for vendor space application coming August 1st 2017

New Gear Deals: The best in new gear and apparel - priced to sell. Expect 10-50% off throughout the Outfitter's Store and even bigger deals in the sidewalk sale.

Rafting and Zip Lining: GAF is the time for an outdoor adventure! 

Kids' Activities: Face painting, crafts, games, button-making, contests and a bouncy house will keep your kids entertained all weekend.

GAF Bike Trials: Test your skills on two wheels. Or watch in amazement as pro-riders hop, balance and climb unimaginable obstacles across NOC campus. Click HERE for more information.

T-Shirt Design Contest: Design this year's GAF t-shirt. More information coming soon.

2017 Reel Paddling Film Festival: Showcasing only the best paddling films, you'll be inspired to explore rivers, lakes, and oceans while pushing extremes!  Click HERE for more information and HERE to purchase tickets.

Vendors: Guest Marketplace (Used Equipment), Artisans & Non-profits

Each year at GAF, NOC allows guests to set up booths selling used sporting equipment. Local artisans and non-profit organizations are also invited to set up booths to sell handmade crafts or talk about their cause. Our spaces filled up very quickly.
Non-profit and artisans space application coming August 1st 2017
Used equipment vendor space application coming August 1st 2017

Parking & Shuttle Information

With such great sales and fun events, we expect a crowd! We want everyone to come and go as they please so we are opening 2 shuttle lots with free shuttles all day through the weekend.  We expect the heaviest crowds on Saturday morning and early afternoon. Please note: Every year a few GAF guests are ticketed or towed for parking in unauthorized locations along US 19/74 and Silvermine Rd. Local law enforcement will be out in force, so please make every effort to park safely.

Parking Shuttles:
NOC will park cars on campus until it reaches maximum capacity. Once campus fills, we will divert traffic to nearby shuttle lots. This year these lots are
1) the Gem Mine east of campus and
2) a parking lot two miles up Silvermine Road (the street across from the Outfitter's Store).
Signage and parking staff will be direct you to the currently open shuttle lots. There are no set shuttle times, but service will be continual. The shuttles will run to/from the General Store. 

Boater Shuttles:
As always NOC will offer boaters who park at the put-in a free shuttle back to the top in exchange for helping us with GAF parking efficiency. These shuttles will run until 4pm. To access a shuttle take out at NOC and check in with the Adventure Center deck staff.

Cascades and Upper Nantahala Release Shuttle:
The Cascades and Upper Nantahala River with release on Saturday and Sunday. Free shuttles will begin at 9:30am and run until 4pm to both the Cascades put-in and the Upper Nantahala put-in, complimetns of NOC. Park at the Wayah Rd. USFS put-in or in the large lot directly across the street. 


Over 21 wristbands: please be aware that anyone drinking an aclohilic beverage on NOC property during GAF must be wearing a day-specific colored wristband. Law enforcement will be present and enforcing this regulation

Big Wesser BBQ: Big Wesser will be selling coffee and buscuits in the morning for guests looking to grab a quick and simple breakfast. 

Unauthorized Gear Sales: anyone setting up a used gear booth must be registered in the used gear marketplace. No booth set up or sales in parking or other unauthorized areas.

No Unauthorized Camping: There will be no camping allowed in any of the parking areas or in unauthorized zones on NOC property.

No Unauthorized Parking: There will be remote parking areas with continually shuttles in addition to on-campus areas. DO NOT PARK ALONG HIGHWAY. 

Friday, September 22 Time

2017 Event Schedule

Guest Gear Marketplace 8 am - 'til
NOC Outfitter's Store & Sidewalk Sale 8 am - 'til
NOC Used Rafting Gear Sale 10 am - 'til
NOC Staff Gear Sale 12 pm - 7 pm
Bouncy House & Kids' Activities 12 - 5 pm
Live Music: Andalyn 3 pm
Live Music: The Whiskey Sticks 7 pm


Saturday, September 23 Time
NOC Used Rafting Gear Sale 8 am - 'til
NOC Outfitter's Store & Sidewalk Sale 8 am - 'til
NOC Used Kayak Sale 8 am - 'til
NOC Staff Gear Sale 8 am - 7 pm
Guest Gear Marketplace 8 am - 'til
GAF Bike Trials Registration 8:00 - 8:45 am
GAF Bike Trials Competition 9 am - 4 pm
Bouncy House & Kids' Activities 10 am - 5 pm
NOC Upper Nantahala Special-Release Shuttle
from Wayah Rd. USFS Put-in
9:30 am - 5 pm
Steve Longenecker's Live Raptor Show 11 am
Live Music: The Bayou Diesel Band 11 am
2017 Reel Paddling Film Festival 1 pm
Live Music: The Freeway Revival Band 3 pm
Cornhole Tournament 4 pm
Live Music: The Pioneer Chicken Stand Band 7 pm


Sunday, September 24 Time
River of Life service at Big Wesser BBQ + Brew 8:30 - 9:30 am
NOC Outfitter's Store & Sidewalk Sale 8 am - 'til
NOC Used Rafting Gear Sale 8 am - 'til
Bouncy House & Kids' Activities 10 am - 1 pm
NOC Upper Nantahala Special-Release Shuttle
from Wayah Rd. USFS Put-In
9:30 am - 5 pm



Lower Nantahala Release Times Shuttle Times
Nantahala Releases and Boater Shuttle Schedules
Friday 9:30am - 3:30pm 11am - 2pm
Saturday 9am - 5pm 9:30am - 2:30pm
Sunday 9:30am - 3:30pm 11am - 2 pm

*Lower Nantahala boater shuttles are $7/person, and FREE for boaters leaving their cars at the put-in.

Upper Nantahala/Nantahala Cascades Release Times Shuttle Times
Saturday 10am - 4pm
(300 CFS release)
9:30am - 4pm
Sunday 10am - 2pm
(425 CFS release)
(250 CFS release)
9:30am - 4pm

*Upper Nantahala boater shuttles are FREE, courtesy of NOC. Shuttles leave from Wayah Road USFS Put-In. 
























Nantahala Outdoor Center's main campus, the Nantahala River Outpost is located in far Western North Carolina on US Highway 19. 12 miles from Bryson City and on the south side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the outpost is nestled in the Nantahala Gorge. If you are on a Rapid Transit rafting/train excursions, the meeting place is in Bryson City at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Depot.

From Asheville, NC: Take I-40 West towards Knoxville, TN. Take exit 27 onto US 74 West towards Waynesville. Stay on 74 West, the outpost is 50 miles down this road. 8 miles past Bryson City, the 4-lane will split into two 2-lane roads. Stay on 74, the left lane. You will enter the Nantahala Gorge and after 5-miles you see the Nantahala River and NOC's Nantahala Outpost.

From Gatlinburg, TN: Take 441 South through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and through Cherokee. Just past Cherokee, get on 74 West. After 15 miles, the road will split into two 2-lane roads. Stay on 74 W, the left lane, and continue the 5-milts to the NOC Nantahala Outpost.

From East Atlanta: Take I-85 North to I-985 North. At Gainesville, take 365 North to 441 North. Just past Dillsboro, NC, 441 merges with US 74. 8 miles past Bryson City, the 4-lane splits into two 2-lane roads. Stay on 74, the left lane. Continue 5-miles and arrive at the NOC Nantahala Outpost.

From West Atlanta: Take I-75 North to I-575 North. I-575 becomes State Hwy 5, and then Hwy 76. Stay on this road until Blue Ridge, GA where you turn left onto Hwy 60 towards Mineral Bluff, GA. In Mineral Bluff, turn right onto Hwy 60 Spur. Follow it into North Carolina to US 74 East, turning right towards Murphy and Andrews when the road ends. Stay on 74 East, NOC's Nantahala Outpost is 20-miles past Andrews. You will follow the Nantahala River for the last 8-miles.

From Chattanooga, TN: Take I-75 North towards Cleveland, TN. Take the 1st Cleveland exit, the US 64 Bypass Exit. Go 6-miles and take the Ocoee Exit onto US 64 East towards Murphy, NC. In Murphy the road number changes to US 74. Stay on 74 East, NOC's Nantahala Outpost is 20-miles past Andrews. You will follow the Nantahala River for the last 8-miles.