Chatt Town Cool Down celebrates the city as an ‘official river town’

Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / Outdoor Chattanooga Director Gail Loveland Barille hopes to inspire more people to engage with the Chattanooga riverfront during the inaugural Chatt Town Cool Down event this August.

Summer in the Scenic City is hot and humid, almost unbearably so at times — which makes getting on the water one of the best ways to spend the season.

Take the opportunity to cool off during the dog days of summer at Outdoor Chattanooga's inaugural Chatt Town Cool Down event Aug. 25-26.

Chatt Town Cool Down is the evolution of Outdoor Chattanooga's Paddlefest, which launched in 2022.

Last year, Paddlefest was centered around a community paddle event on the Tennessee River. This year, Chatt Town Cool Down will again feature that 5.4-mile paddle from the Tennessee Riverpark boat ramp to Ross's Landing. But this year, the expanded event will include more land activities such as live music, food vendors and more.

The goal, says Outdoor Chattanooga Director Gail Loveland Barille, is to encourage more people to engage with the river — whether through water or riverfront experiences.

"We really know how important the Tennessee River is to the city of Chattanooga, and how much it defines who we are and our enjoyment of the outdoors," Loveland Barille says. "And not everybody paddles, but everybody has some connection to that river, so we want to provide a variety of ways for folks to celebrate our community."

Chatt Town Cool Down will also spotlight the Tennessee RiverLine, a collaborative project working to incorporate the Tennessee River into "North America's next great regional trail system," according to the Tennessee RiverLine website. The project seeks to connect people and communities to the river, from Knoxville to Paducah, Kentucky, via a continuous system of hiking, biking and on-water experiences.

Chattanooga has been named one of the project's first official river towns. The title comes with the responsibility of helping support engagement along the water, which programming such as Outdoor Chattanooga's Chatt Town Cool Down hopes to accomplish.

"Outdoor Chattanooga provides so many different entry points into outdoor recreation," Loveland Barille says. "And [Chatt Town Cool Down] will feature a number of ways for folks to also just step into getting comfortable in our outdoor programs."

Stay tuned for more details on Chatt Town Cool Down by following Outdoor Chattanooga on social media. To learn more about the Tennessee RiverLine, visit

What's next?

Earlier this year, Chattanooga was one of three Tennessee RiverLine "RiverTown" communities awarded a 2023 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Community Impact Grant. Made possible through RiverLine partners Tennessee Valley Authority and the University of Tennessee, the funds help support initiatives that foster inclusive, diverse participation in river experiences. In Chattanooga, it will benefit three programs: a course for women of color to build confidence in water recreation, a partnership with The H2O Life; Rock the Riverfront, a program to reconnect residents to the shoreline; and a program to educate residents on healthy ways to engage with urban landscapes, a partnership with WaterWays.

  photo  Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / Chattanoogas accessibility to the riverfront recently helped the city earn the title of an official "RiverTown" of the Tennessee RiverLine project.