If you love paddling, whether it’s kayaking, canoeing, or stand-up boards, so much that you’d watch multiple films about those hobbies, point your car toward Pottstown Thursday.
The 2021 International Paddling Film Festival is making a second stop there, setting up as a drive-in event at the Sunnyrbrook Ballroom. The touring film festival, which began in 2006, features paddling shorts from all over the world. Locally, it’s hosted by Schuylkill River Greenways, a Pottstown-based nonprofit that promotes the river and its watershed.
“There’s a wide variety of films. We’re not even able to show all of them because of timing,” said Miica Patterson, a Schuylkill River Greenways spokesperson.
The film festival begins at 8:30 p.m. and will run approximately two hours but attendees can come early as Schuylkill River Greenways is also hosting its Serving the Schuylkill Appreciation Night in the same location, starting at 6:30 p.m. That event includes a cocktail party and auction, also available online, with prizes that include a weekend in a Vermont condominium, a moonlight paddling excursion at Marsh Creek State Park, and a trip to kayak Florida’s Everglades.
Tickets for both events cost $75 per person. Tickets for the film festival alone are $35 per person.
Last year’s film festival was originally planned for March but postponed until fall, Patterson said, but Thursdays’s event will feature a new lineup of films.
“There’s even one about our own watershed, the Schuylkill,” she said, of Schuylkill Soaring.
The 137-mile-long Schuylkill’s headwaters begin in Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal region and it flows southeasterly through Schuylkill, Berks, Montgomery, and Chester, before it reaches Philadelphia. In the city, the river and its adjacent trails have long been a recreation destination.
In July, paddlers can experience nearly the whole stretch of the river during the 5-day Schuylkill River Sojourn, which ends in Philadelphia.