Fall foliage with a blue overlay
Sep 24

Guest Appreciation Festival (GAF)

Live Music
Retail Sale
  • Date & Time

    September 24, 12:00 AM – September 26, 2021, 12:00 AM

  • Location

    Nantahala Outdoor Center

  • Price

    Free Admission

guests standing outside looking at canoe


Guest Appreciation Festival is our annual celebrating bringing together guests, visitors, paddlers, and staff for a weekend festival of incredible sales, whitewater, outdoor fun, and gratitude!

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 can take advantage of free shuttles for the Cascades and Upper Nantahala recreational releases. Shop crafts and handmade goods from regional and local vendors. Join in on the fun with our family-friendly riverside games and activities including giant Jenga, face painting, and more! Dance the night away to live music on the banks of the Nantahala River. Enjoy a weekend of fun and community in the Nantahala Gorge!

Event Highlights:

  • NOC Used Gear Sale
  • Guest Gear Marketplace
  • New Gear Deals at the Outfitter’s Store
  • Rafting, Ziplining, Aerial Adventure Parks & more!
  • Activities for the kids – including Treetop Adventure Nets
  • And MORE – Keep an eye out for additional 2021 GAF Updates on entertainment, sales, and information for vendors

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. These spaces fill up very quickly, click on the link for either vendor or artisan application below to complete the form and guarantee your spot!

Artisan Space Registration Opens Fall 2021 Coming Soon
Vendor Space Registration Opens Fall 2021 Coming Soon

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:

Check back for updated 2021 information

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 4 pm. 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 9:30 am and run until 4 pm 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.

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.




Nantahala Outdoor Center
13077 US-19
Bryson City, NC 28713

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