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A river imbues it

Organizers for the 10th Dungeness River Festival have added activities and changed their plan for this year's event.

Evolving from a one-day elementary school event in the late-1990s to a two-day event in 2004, the River Festival now will run three days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 25-27.

Lyn Muench, a River Festival volunteer, said the event was every two years because of an agreement with the Wild Olympic Salmon festival in Jefferson County where the two festivals would switch yearly.

The salmon festival is dormant, so the River Festival now is annual.

"Our committee felt it'd be easier to go annually rather than restarting every two years," volunteer Julie Jackson said.

"We plan to keep the event free with suggested donations."

Dungeness River Audubon Center director Bob Boekelheide welcomes the change.

"We have very dynamic leaders in our educational and community outreach," he said.

"Without these people, the River Festival wouldn't happen."

Expanding their interests

Organizers retained many of past festival staples such as live music, nature hikes, bird identification times, Railroad Bridge history lecture, food, vendors and crafts.

"The festival is an opportunity to bring people down to the river who might not always come," Muench said.

"Our main motive is to extol the resources of the watershed and help people enjoy them, too."

These activities are additions to the River Festival:

Birds of Prey

Northwest Raptor Center director Jaye Moore plans to bring at least four birds from the center for a presentation 7-8:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, at Sequim High School's cafeteria, 601 N. Sequim Ave., Sequim.

She will speak about how birds are rescued, their injuries and what role the center plays in rejuvenating the environment.

Moore said being a part of the River Festival stays in line with the Raptor Center's mission.

"We all are supported by the river," she said.

"It's the life blood of this area."

Admission is free, but donations will go toward the center.

Native American heritage

Jamestown S'Klallam storyteller and tribal elder Elaine Grinnell will share stories of the tribe's people and display traditional Native American drums and cedar items at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, at the River Center.

At 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, Jamestown S'Klallam drummers, singers and dancers will perform.

Water Rescue

Clallam County Rescue Team will do a live rescue demonstration at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, near the Railroad Bridge. Trained professionals will rescue one of their own to show their methods in case of a water emergency.

Driftwood Show

The Olympic Driftwood Sculptors' show runs from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 26-27, displaying more than 70 sculptures by 30 driftwood artists.

In with the old and new

More than 20 hands-on nature activities and exhibits, including fish printing and a vegetable quiz, will be available for children and adults. All vendors are required to provide a family-oriented activity.

"Making environmental education fun and memorable helps people understand and appreciate the importance of keeping the river and watershed healthy, and that's our mission," Boekelheide said.

Music at the center's amphitheater will be provided by Sound Waves, Five Acre School's Marimba Band, Green Light Situation, Kentucky Bull Frogs, and Howly and Da' Boyz.

A continental brunch will be provided at

10 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 27, at the center's courtyard with pastries provided by The Sauer Kraut German Deli, Bakery & Cafe.

Some area hotels offer discounts specifically for the River Festival.

Proceeds and donations from the festival support the Dungeness River Audubon Center and Railroad Bridge Park.

For a complete festival schedule, go to www.DungenessRiverCenter.org or call 681-4076.



Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@

sequimgazette.com.

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