CINCINNATI — Organizers of Cincinnati’s Paddlefest expect more than 2,000 people on the Ohio River for the annual event that draws canoe and kayak enthusiasts.

The 16th annual Ohio River Paddlefest is set for Saturday, with participants to cruise 9 miles down the river.

Paddlefest founder Brewster Rhodes says it’s a way to celebrate the river’s beauty and value to the region.

Rhodes says the event also helps combat the perception of the river as dirty or unsafe. He calls Paddlefest a “floating pep rally” for the river.

The event is more of a party than a race. There will be people in costume and live music, with several bands performing on houseboats for the paddlers this year.