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 including 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 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 is included below.

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: Watch in amazement as pro-riders hop, balance and climb unimaginable obstacles across NOC campus. 

T-Shirt Design Contest: Design this year's GAF t-shirt! Click here for more information on how to enter & artwork requirements.

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.

Artisans space applications can be submitted here. - Spaces Full for 2017

Used equipment vendor space applications can be submitted here.

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 will have releases 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, compliments of NOC. Park at the Wayah Road USFS put-in or in the large lot directly across the street. 


Over 21 Wristbands: please be aware that anyone drinking an alcoholic 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 biscuits 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 lots 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 continual shuttles in addition to on-campus areas. DO NOT PARK ALONG HIGHWAY. 

Friday, September 22 Time

2017 Event Schedule

Guest Gear Marketplace 8AM - Until
NOC Outfitter's Store & Sidewalk Sale 8AM - Until
NOC Used Rafting Gear Sale 10AM - Until
NOC Staff Gear Sale 12PM - 7PM
Bouncy House & Kids' Activities 12PM-5PM
Live Music TBA


Saturday, September 23 Time
NOC Used Rafting Gear Sale 8AM - Until
NOC Outfitter's Store & Sidewalk Sale 8AM - Until
NOC Used Kayak Sale 8AM - Until
NOC Staff Gear Sale 8AM - 7PM
Guest Gear Marketplace 8AM - Until
GAF Bike Trials Demonstration 11AM, 1PM, 3PM
Bouncy House & Kids' Activities 10AM - 5PM
NOC Upper Nantahala Special-Release Shuttle
from Wayah Rd. USFS Put-in
9:30AM - 5PM
Steve Longenecker's Live Raptor Show 11AM
2017 Reel Paddling Film Festival 1PM
Live Music TBA


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


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.