Franklin’s Winni River Days Offers Whitewater Fun, Live Music, and More

Festival had strong emphasis on outdoor activities

By Ken Wells
Two female kayakers are about to bump into each other as they are about to navigate the same slalom gate on the Winnipesaukee River, in the shadow of Franklin’s antique railroad trestle bridge. Caption and photo: Ken Wells

For three days, from Friday June 14 to Sunday June 16, the Winnipesaukee River and Franklin’s Trestle Park were the scene of the 6th Annual Winni River Days Whitewater Festival and the New England Slalom Series. Refreshing breezes and spectacular bright sunshine flashed on churning whitewater, as competitors and spectators alike enjoyed kayak slalom races, a 5K road race, live music, and vendors serving food and locally produced craft beers!

Bright sunlight sparkles on the churning water of the Winnipesaukee River, as the Winni River Days Festival is celebrated on the far shore. Caption and photo: Ken Wells

Organized by Mill City Park and the Franklin Department of Parks and Recreation, the event brought together Franklin residents, visitors and whitewater enthusiasts from all over, offering event camping at sites in Odell Park, Mill City Park, and Northfield.

Celebrating Franklin as the site of New England’s premier whitewater park, the festival had a strong emphasis on outdoor adventure activities: whitewater kayaking, a climbing wall, fishing and mountain biking activities were on display in Trestle Park. However, many visitors enjoyed strolling along Franklin’s Central Street shops on a beautiful day, sitting by the river, or quaffing a cold IPA from Vulgar or Kettlehead microbreweries as they listened to the performances onstage. The bands offered something for everybody, from The Back Porch Development’s laid back covers of Grateful Dead songs, to Adventure Time Trio’s sax-bass-drums combo jazz riffs, and the Eon Granite Band’s rockabilly CCR tunes.

Organizer Krystal Alpers of the WInni River Days Committee, who has also been the Director of Franklin’s Department of Parks and Recreation for more than 13 years, was pleased with this year’s event and is already looking forward to the 7th Annual WInni River Days Festival next year!