Celebrating the watershed

For the first time in its history, the Dungeness River Festival features an art show. Twenty-nine local artists and one from Australia depict the flowing body of water in their unique way.

"Each artist has provided a piece that interprets the Dungeness River differently," said Shirley Anderson, coordinator of the exhibit and co-chair of the festival, which is sponsored by the Dungeness River Audubon Center, the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe and the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society.

The pieces include driftwood art, watercolors and sculptures and many are for sale; the artists have offered to donate 25 percent of sales to River Center activities.

"It's a different way to show our appreciation for the river," Anderson said.

In addition to the art show, more than 25 agencies, organizations and businesses, including Olympic Park Institute, Clallam Conservation District and the Washington Trails Association, plan on providing exhibits at the festival.

On Friday, the first day of the two-day event, festival organizers invited third-, fourth- and fifth-graders from Sequim schools. Exhibitors will provide special age-appropriate activities for them, many centered around the four focuses of this year's festival - the river's geology and animals, the cultural history of the area, protection and restoration of the river and recreation around the river.

Another highlight is a 36-foot-long septic tank sponsored by the Clallam County Environmental Health Department, which is big enough for visitors to crawl through and learn the benefits of a properly operating system.

"We want visitors to enjoy the Dungeness River and learn what it does for our quality of life and our community," Powell Jones, the River Center's education coordinator, said.

Adult-friendly activities are planned as well, including fly-fishing lessons and areas set up with telescopes so people can get a close-up view of the river's surroundings. Food vendors and Sequim-area musicians, including Five Acre School's marimba band, will add to the celebratory feel.

In response to the earth-friendly theme of the festival, Anderson said organizers are encouraging families to bike or walk on the Olympic Discovery Trail, either westbound from Sequim or eastbound from Carlsborg, to get to the festival.

"The Dungeness River provides so much for Sequim, Carlsborg, Dungeness and all of Clallam County," said Bob Boekelheide, River Center director. "This is a community celebration for the water, wildlife and beautiful scenery provided by the river and Dungeness Bay."

Celebrating the Dungeness

Who: The Dungeness River Audubon Center,

Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe and Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society

What: The Dungeness River Festival;

this year's theme is "Our Amazing Watershed"

When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, and Saturday, Sept. 27

Where: Railroad Bridge Park, 2151 W. Hendrickson Road, Sequim

More information: Admission is free. Food is available for purchase.

Contact: Dungeness River Audubon Center at 681-4076.

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