Wes Weaver, of Evans, lounged on a grassy hill at Savannah Rapids Pavilion on Saturday enjoying the sunny afternoon and some of the Martinez park's passive recreation.
Wes Weaver, of Evans, lounges on the grass at Savannah Rapids Pavilion with his dogs Carlos, Deluca and Darby, during Columbia County's inaugural Outdoor Expo on Saturday.
Photo by Valerie Rowell
Weaver, who visited the park as a vendor for CSRA Greyhound Adoptions, was one of many who attended Saturday's inaugural Outdoor Expo, held near the pavilion.
"(The expo) is to get people back outdoors after the winter and to remind them of all you can do out here (the Augusta Canal) whether you are biking, walking, jogging, bringing your dogs out here or fishing," said Sandy Boner, Columbia County's community center manager. "It's to remind people of all the recreational opportunities out here."
The expo included local artists and their works and local outdoors businesses promoting activities such as fishing, boating, hiking, camping and canoeing. CSRA master gardeners and several dog-obedience organizations also attended the event to promote recreational activities along the canal.
Jim Murphy, of Double Trouble fishing tour guides, displayed his nearly 36-pound striper, caught near the dam on Clarks Hill Lake, as an example of what can be caught in the canal waters.
"It's good for the family to come out here and fish," Murphy said, adding that fishermen can catch striper, crappie, black and striped bass and shell-cracker bream. "You can catch some pretty good catfish out here, too."
Lauren Kerbelis, a member of the local ladies' artist group Women on Paper, said her group often paints at the canal.
"It's always something different," she said.
But Boner said only the first phase of park construction, including a visitors center and upgrades to the dance pavilion and barbecue pit, has been completed. Phase II will nearly double the parking capacity of the 33-acre wooded park and add a driving loop along Reed Creek and more picnic areas and walking trails. More walking trails, picnic areas and another restroom facility are planned for the third phase, Boner said.
"It's a pretty site and they are going to leave it as wooded as possible," she said.
Boner said Saturday's expo, which brought attention to the pavilion area, was a success.
"We'll do it every year," she said.
Boner said there are still two more upcoming special events planned for the canal, including Summertime on the Canal, slated for July 23. The July event, Boner said, will be staged as an old-fashioned fair including pie-eating and recipe contests, a rubber duck race in the canal, kettle corn, old-fashioned ice cream and funnel cake. For more information about Savannah Rapids Pavilion and the Augusta Canal, call 868-3349.
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