What makes Gauley Fest, Gauley Fest? You can read all about the storied three-decade history of the “Southeast’s wildest fundraiser,” which dates back to 1984. You could make the September pilgrimage to Summersville, West Virginia, and experience the odd and the incredible river shenanigans for yourself, from Creature Crafts and historic drift-boat descents, to Class V inner-tubing antics and even 9-year-old Malcolm Lee Smith charging down the Class III-V Upper Gauley. Or, you could ride along with C&K contributor Mike McKay as he searches the spectacle that is Gauley Fest to find the answer to a simple question: What makes this gathering magic?

ONLY AT GAULEY FEST: 6 unique scenes that define American Whitewater’s annual September celebration

See more of McKay’s ‘Magic of’ series with a look at Ecuador’s Jondachi Fest

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