Low Water, Bridge Construction Can’t Stop the Wetness
RIDGWAY – “Between low water levels and the CDOT bridge work, there is no question that this year’s RiverFest is facing some interesting challenges,” said event coordinator Deidra Krois. “But we’re still anticipating this to be our biggest and best event yet. We’ve lined up some great music and first class food vendors, we’ve expanded the Watershed Education Tent, and the local business community has been really generous with their contributions to the silent auction.”
The fifth annual Ridgway River Festival will take place at Rollans Park in downtown Ridgway on Saturday, June 30from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. RiverFest, organized by the Mosaic Community Project (MCP) in partnership with event sponsors Alpine Bank, Colorado River District, Jagged Edge and Orvis Hot Springs, is a free, zero-waste celebration of the Uncompahgre River and its watershed.
River competitions will proceed as planned from just above the second drop. “It’s always a last minute decision,” said Krois, on the downriver race. “We’ll probably send some people down river first thing in the morning, to see if we can race all the way to the reservoir. The rodeo depends on the water level. Chris Haaland, our event coordinator will get in the water [in his kayak] and make the call.”
Flows in the Uncompahgre at Ridgway have been hovering at about 100 cfs the last couple of weeks. (You can check real-time water levels at a link on the RiverFest website: ridgwayriverfestival/org.) Average water level this time of year for the last 11 years, since the monitoring started, has been in the 400 cfs range. So, yes, the water is down, but that’s not going to stall the fun. “The show will go on!” said Krois.
The festival itself kicks off at 11 a.m. Early birds can gather in Rollans Park at 9:30 a.m. at the registration table for a river walk led by Bill Coughlin of Western Stream Works and Agnieszka Przeszlowska of the Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership.
“The Kid’s Eddy is going to rock this year,” said MCP boardmember Lindsay Hepp. “We’ll have face painting, hair feathers, a variety of crafts, and fly casting lessons courtesy of Gunnison Gorge Anglers.” Kid’s can cool off with a glass of ice cold lemonade while enjoying cookies fresh out of the solar ovens.”
Adults can cool off with cold beer from Colorado Boy and New Belgium Brewery or margaritas produced by pedal-powered “Glenda the Blenda” while enjoying live music. “Mountain Khakis, The Watch Newspapers, and the Liquor Store stepped up to the plate as the 2012 music sponsors,” said Krois. “Their support allowed us to book some fantastic performers.”
From noon to 2 p.m., San Juan locals Eamon Alger, Johnny Carmola and Melanie Kent (of Fall Baby) will perform as Trico – a multi-genre trio offering a mix of blues, funk and rock. Expect a few guests to perform with them as well. The all-original, Rocky Mountain grown, HipHopFiddle’n’FunkRock band James and the Devil (out of Denver) will take the stage from 3 to 6 p.m.
The Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership (UWP) is organizing the Watershed Education Tent. “RiverFest is not solely about fun in the sun,” said UWP coordinator Agnieszka Przeszlowska. “In many ways, the Uncompahgre is vital to the economic, environmental and cultural health of our region. We’ve gathered together a great selection of organizations who are actively promoting the well-being of our watershed and the surrounding communities.” Representatives from the Black Canyon Regional Land Trust, EcoAction Partners, Transition OurWay, the Colorado River Water Conservation District, Wise Water Use Council, and the US Forest Service with their water trailer, among others, will be on hand to share information about the watershed.
“The Watershed Education Tent is intended to appeal to an all-age crowd. There are activities and demonstrations for the kids and a lot of good information for adults,” said UWP Outreach Coordinator Emily Galanto. “We’re also offering a super fun, environmental themed scavenger hunt for the kids.”
“Don’t forget to bring your checkbook,” said MCP board member Tracy Lockard. “It’s a free event but the silent auction will offer some great items. We’ve got everything from CrossFit and Chipeta Spa memberships to guided fly fishing with Telluride Outside to a hut trip from San Juan Huts and much, much more. And all the proceeds go back to our river corridor in many forms.”
The FULL Festival Schedule is as follows:
9-11 a.m.: River Event Registration
9:30 a.m.: River Walk with Bill Coughlin and Agnieszka Przeszlowska
11 a.m.-5 p.m.: Kid's Eddy Activity Area
11 a.m.-5 p.m.: Whitewater Education & Silent Auction
11:10 a.m.: Safety Briefing
11:20 a.m.: Wildwater Kayaks
11:30 a.m.: Hard Shell Kayaks
11:40 a.m.: Inflatable Crafts
Noon-2 p.m.: Trico Band
2 p.m.: Whitewater Rodeo
2:30 p.m.: Junk of Unc
2:45 p.m.: Kid's Scavenger Hunt
3-6 p.m.: James and the Devil Band
3:30 p.m.: Awards Ceremony
5 p.m.: Silent Auction Ends
For more information please visit: www.ridgwayriverfestival.org
The Mosaic Community Project is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to support and promote education, the visual and performing arts, sustainable living