Every year, Nantahala Outdoor Center hosts a special event to say “thank you for a great season” to everyone who comes to enjoy the wonderful variety of outdoor pursuits our area has to offer. People come from all over the Southeast to be a part of Guest Appreciation Festival (we locals just call it GAF, though) because the deals are really that good! This year’s festival is September 26-28th.
There is so much going on at GAF, it is hard to describe; but I will do my best. First, you have huge savings in the NOC Outfitter’s store on gear and apparel. It’s an end-of-season blowout, if you will. Then, there is all the used gear; this includes boats, bikes, paddles, PFDs, even rafts and duckies that are being retired from use but still have many good river days left. The Specialized bike fleet is replaced every year and meticulously taken care of, so if you are in the market for a mountain bike, GAF is the place to be!
In addition to all the great stuff NOC is selling, there will be a Used Gear Marketplace. This is like a giant outdoor gear and apparel flea market. Here you will find an ocean of kayaks for sale plus gear and apparel for just about any sport you can imagine. There are tons of gems just waiting to be discovered! And here’s the best part; the event starts on Friday with the majority of sales on Saturday and Sunday – each day the prices get lower! Nobody wants to go home from GAF with the same stuff they came with, so the deals get better as the weekend progresses.
While you walk around and fantasize about all the fun adventures you will have with the great stuff you find, there will be live music, food and a full schedule of events, activities, demonstrations and games – all family friendly, of course! The pros at the Bike Trials on Saturday will definitely amaze you – and you can hop on a bike and join the competition if you want! You can go zip-lining or rafting for a special GAF price (if you want to register online ahead of time, use the offer code GAF15 to receive your discount). Kids can jump in the bounce-house, enjoy craft projects, and even get their face painted. Make sure to bring a change of clothes because they will definitely want to cool off in the river at some point and are likely to need them! If you are a boater, you will want to take advantage of the free shuttles to the Upper Nantahala and the Cascades, which will be running during the weekend.
Nantahala Outdoor Center is in the Nantahala Gorge, just a 15 minute drive from downtown Bryson City and just a few miles from your Watershed Cabin. Make sure to pack light so you have plenty of room in your car for all the great stuff you find! Click here for directions, an event schedule and a list of all the great musicians that will be playing during the weekend.