RiverFest returns to Valle Crucis

By Jesse Campbell (jesse.campbell@mountaintimes.com)



Article Published: Jun. 27, 2013 | Modified: Jun. 30, 2013
RiverFest returns to Valle Crucis

Riverfest, an environmental awareness day that features hands-on activities, offers people of all
ages a day of fun — and education — in the sun.

Photo by Frank Ruggiero



Protecting one of the High Country’s most precious jewels — the waterways — has become the recurring inspiration behind RiverFest.

Essentially, RiverFest is an environmental awareness fun day that features hands-on activities and programs geared toward the importance of keeping our streams and waterways clean, organizers said.

This year’s festival gets underway at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Valle Crucis Community Park. Fun in the park continues until 6 p.m. The event is free of charge.

RiverFest is the brainchild of Watauga River Partners, said organizer Ashley Wilson.

“The WRP formed in 1999,” Wilson said. “The folks involved with them worked year-round to educate and inform people of the Watauga River and why they should keep it clean and healthy.”

The WRP and RiverFest, along with sponsorship from Appalachian Voices, have served as an outlet for anyone that “cares about the river,” Wilson said.

“There are a certain group of people that really enjoy the waterways, whether fishing or paddling in a kayak or canoe or just sticking your feet in the river and enjoying,” she said.

Wilson said RiverFest is “a way to for us to have a fun event to celebrate the work of WRP and a way to invite everyone else that cares about the Watauga River or any river.”

Entertainment includes live music, storytelling, exhibits and other activities. But, most importantly, participants will go home with skills needed to reduce their environmental impact, said a news release. There will also be fresh food.

In addition to educational programming and live entertainment, RiverFest will have live fishing demonstrations by Watauga River Anglers. Wilson said River Girl Fishing Company from Todd is also bringing a live hellbender.

“The festival isn’t just for kids,” Wilson said. “There is something for everyone at RiverFest. After RiverFest, fans and stewards of the environment are invited to stay for the “Wild and Scenic Film Festival.”

The film festival is sponsored through a partnership with the WRP and the Western North Carolina Alliance.

“They are the ones who that bring film festivals to places to be shown,” Wilson said.

“The organizers wanted to bring the films to Boone since we are already doing RiverFest and thought it was a good idea to have the events happen in conjunction with one another,” she said.

The film festival will feature short environmental awareness films, Wilson said.

“The films you would see at the festival are similar to the ones at Banff,” she said.

This year’s film fest begins shortly after dusk and is expected to last until 10 p.m.

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