Arts and Entertainment

Celebrate the river!

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The 13th Dungeness River Festival will fill Railroad Bridge Park this Friday and Saturday with music, art and good food.


And, if you're not careful, you might even learn something about the river, one of the peninsula's scenic wonders and a natural source of material and esthetic wealth.


"Let's Go Green!" is the theme of this year's festival. Powell Jones, director of the Dungeness River Audubon Center, explained the theme, saying,


“We live in the ancestral watershed of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, and we need to protect it."

Keeping the watershed healthy is the focus of the festival, Jones said.


River Festival-goers of all ages will enjoy activities that celebrate the diversity of the Dungeness — one of the shortest, steepest rivers in the country — and highlight its importance for the Sequim-Dungeness Valley.


The interactive exhibits feature nearly all the public, tribal and nonprofit entities active in the Dungeness watershed.


And, of course, there will be festival food: Fry bread, salmon burgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, ice cream and snacks will be available in the River Center courtyard.


Every year the festival adds new fun activities. On Friday, check out:


• The Nature Art Corner, featuring demonstrations by carvers Denny Van Horn, Bob Morgenstern, and Myron Nelsen.


• “Landscaping with Nature" will appeal to property owners and gardeners. The session, led by Joe Holtrop, district manager of the Clallam Conservation District, begins at 2:30 p.m. with a presentation in the River Center and continues with a plant walk in the park. Holtrop, who holds bachelor's and master's degrees in landscape architecture, has been giving talks and teaching classes on sustainable landscaping for 18 years.


• At 10:30 a.m. the Five Acre School marimba band, the Sound Waves, will bring beautiful music to the beautiful park.


• River Center Director Powell Jones said he's particularly excited about the “Fun Fact” tours he'll lead for small groups throughout the day. "There's a lot to see in (the Audubon Center)," he said. "Especially seeing it in 15 to 20 minutes."


Jones said he has experience providing tours of the building to school groups, "but not as quick."
He laughed. "It's kind of like speed dating, but with our building."

"We'll talk about the local animals that they're most interested in. It will be a story tailored to the audience rather than a canned speech."


And the next day ...

Saturday's another big day, kicking off with the Jamestown S’Klallam drummers and singers leading a traditional welcome ceremony at 10 a.m., followed at 11 a.m. with a performance by the Olympic Mountain Cloggers.


Afternoon activities in the River Stage amphitheater include Zumba and a drumming circle.


The complete festival schedule is available on the River Center website,


Proceeds from the River Festival support the Dungeness River Audubon Center and Railroad Bridge Park. The Dungeness River Audubon Center's mission is to inspire understanding, enjoyment and stewardship of the Olympic Peninsula's unique natural and cultural resources, with emphasis on birds, rivers, fish and people.


The festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 28 and 29 in Railroad Bridge Park, 2151 W. Hendrickson Road. Admission is free.


Reach Mark Couhig at




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