For the 21st year of the Dungeness River Festival, the message remains the same: to support the Dungeness River.
Various agencies, nonprofits and resource managers share their efforts with hundreds of visitors to Railroad Bridge Park from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. today for the free event.
Powell Jones, executive director of the Dungeness River Audubon Center, said the festival serves as an introduction for children on how to maintain the health of the river.
“And as the years go by it gets instilled in them,” he said.
Per tradition, Sequim elementary school third-, fourth- and fifth graders visit the festival throughout the day, along with area homeschoolers and Chimacum fourth-grade students.
Jones said organizers changed the hours to focus on families and children after organizers saw turnout drop off after about 2 p.m.
“There was a realization that our main audience is the families that come during the school hours,” he said.
“It’s a soft 2 p.m., so we’ll go until the last school bus leaves.”
Each visitor is encouraged to ask any of the exhibitors, “What I can do help the Dungeness?” and follow-up with a visit to the River Center’s booth to draw on a flag sharing how they’ll help. The flags will hang from the Railroad Bridge in coming weeks.
More than two-dozen exhibitors are anticipated to attend including the U.S. Forest Service, Peninsula Trails Coalition, Back Country Horsemen-Peninsula Chapter and the North Olympic Land Trust.
Each booth will have a child-friendly activity, too.
Jones said the event will not have a preview night, but Five Acre School’s Marimba Band and the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s singers will perform.
He said they intentionally scheduled fewer performers so that attendees could focus on the exhibitions.
“We want the exhibitors to be the show,” Jones said. “We want to show the agencies doing great work on the Dungeness.”
Organizers estimate about 1,500 people attend the festival each year.
For more information about the Dungeness River Audubon Center and the Railroad Bridge Park, 2151 W. Hendrickson Road, visit dungenessrivercenter.org or call 360-681-4076.