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Henry County’s Smith River Fest takes place this Saturday, August 21st from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Smith River Sports Complex, located at 1000 Irisburg Road in Axton.  According to the website ( advertising the event, the Smith River Fest celebrates the Smith River and the great outdoors.

The Smith River Fest is a great opportunity to get acquainted with a variety of outdoor activities – including bicycling, especially if you haven’t engaged in this fun and healthy activity for quite a while. There are a couple of ways to get to the Smith River Sports Complex from Martinsville or Henry County by bicycle.  The easiest way is via the Dick & Willie Passage Trail extension, which opened in fall 2019.  The terminus of this 2.7-mile trail is along Spruce Street, across the street from St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Martinsville.  Additionally, if you reside in southern Martinsville, in the vicinity of Lake Lanier, you can access the trail via Country Club Drive.  If you begin your ride at the Spruce Street trailhead, you’ll be on the trail for several minutes, before turning left on Country Club Drive, on which you’ll ride for 0.75-mile, as the trail is on-road for this distance before resuming at the end of Country Club Drive.  This is a scenic ride, as the route parallels Mulberry Creek, and then the Smith River closer to the Sports Complex.  Best of all, the trail directly serves the Smith River Sports Complex property, bringing you directly to the action!

A photo of the Dick & Willie Trail extension as it intersects Golf Club Drive in Martinsville.

If you reside in Henry County within a mile or two of the Smith River Sports Complex, the West Piedmont Regional Bicycle Plan recommends Irisburg Road as a recommended bicycle route.  The section of Irisburg Road east of the 58/220 Bypass is particularly recommended, due to the lower traffic volumes which make bicycling more comfortable.  From Irisburg Road, turn onto Sportsplex Way, located about 0.25-mile east of the Bypass to access the Sports Complex.  Sportsplex Way is served by bike lanes, improving bicyclist comfort and safety.  You can access the interactive map feature of the West Piedmont Regional Bicycle Plan at,36.5503,-79.3420,37.0073 to view this recommended route or any other recommended routes throughout the West Piedmont Region.

A screenshot of the West Piedmont Regional Bicycle Plan interactive map feature shows recommended bicycle routes throughout the region. Clicking on any recommended bike plan segment will cause a menu to display which shows valuable information for bicyclists, such as posted speed limit, average daily traffic volume expressed as Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT), and other information associated with that section of roadway.

According to the website, this Saturday’s Smith River Fest will feature numerous activities including the following:

  • River tubing
  • Yoga by the River
  • A paddling demo pool, within which you can practice paddling a kayak to build confidence if you’re unfamiliar with it.
  • A casting pool, in which children and adults can learn about and practice casting a fishing line.
  • Live music and entertainment including a magic show, a DJ, and a country music band.
  • A Kids’ Cycle Station. At this venue, Henry County Parks & Recreation will provide individualized instruction to young children with regard to bicycling.  A mini bicycling course will also be available for young riders who are somewhat more experienced.
  • The Mobile Bike Barn. If you don’t have a bike or haven’t biked in a while, the Martinsville-Henry County YMCA, which operates a bike barn, will gladly let you borrow one for free!
  • Many other activities are available as well!

The Smith River Fest is a great event to bike to or at because if you would like to get back into this activity and would like an opportunity to give it a try, this event is an excellent way to do that, whether you are trying out a bike at the YMCA Bike Barn or you are riding your own bike along the Dick & Willie Passage Trail.  Biking to or at the Smith River Fest will be a great way for you to hone your biking skills!

If you choose to bike to work or for any of your essential trips, don’t forget that you will earn points toward shopping, services, dining, activities, or to enter a raffle for a chance to win a great prize such as a gift card!  Simply download the FREE app available today at!