RiverFest 2016 offers paddling, riverside activities

By Mary Therese Biebel - [email protected] | June 23rd, 2016 4:34 pm

WILKES-BARRE — “Beautiful scenery, a beautiful day, beautiful water,” David Buck said, summing up a trip 20 kayakers took on the Susquehanna River last week. “We saw eagles and all kinds of stuff.”

You may have missed that trip, but RiverFest 2016 offers an opportunity to paddle from West Pittston to Wilkes-Barre Friday, from Harding to Wilkes-Barre Saturday and from Wilkes-Barre to Hunlock Creek Sunday.

Participants should contact Buck at Endless Mountains Outfitters, 570-746-9140, or Art Coolbaugh at Susquehanna Kayak & Canoe Rentals, 570-388-6107, to make reservations.

Even if you don’t paddle the river, you can enjoy plenty of activities in the Riverfront Parks this weekend.

RiverFest opens 5 p.m. Friday in Nesbitt Park, where you’ll find a food truck rally, a chance to add your artistic touch to a community mural and a live reptile and amphibian nature program at 6:30 p.m. Musical entertainment continues until 9 p.m.

RiverFest continues from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday with children’s art and nature programs, birds of prey at 1:30 p.m., a live mammals program at 3 p.m., pony rides, a bounce house, guided nature hikes, kayaking demos, fly casting practice and more. Three Imaginary Boys and Don Shappelle and the Pickups will provide music.

People who attend RiverFest are invited to bring donations of non-perishable food Saturday to benefit the Weinberg Food Bank. And, if you purchase food from the Food Truck Rally Friday, you’ll benefit Medical Oncology Associates Prescription Assistance Fund.

Previous RiverFest celebrations have included Dragon Boat Racing, but this year that team competition will be held a month later on July 23-24, said organizer John Maday.

As always, Maday said, the Riverfront Parks Committee plans the annual RiverFest to draw attention to the Susquehanna River and help people learn about its ecology and enjoy it.

“The best part was the people, peaceful, joyful people,” Jodie Brandt, of Towanda, said after taking part in a recent paddling trip with her 15-year-old son, Jonah, and an organized group.

“The river is so placid,” she said. “It’s like paddling in a lake.”

Kayakers and canoers reach West Pittston during a previous RiverFest paddling trip.
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_riverfest07.jpgKayakers and canoers reach West Pittston during a previous RiverFest paddling trip. Times Leader file photo
Dozens of kayakers take off from Harding along the Susquehanna River Saturday morning during RiverFest 2015.
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_riverfest1.jpgDozens of kayakers take off from Harding along the Susquehanna River Saturday morning during RiverFest 2015. Times Leader file photo

By Mary Therese Biebel

[email protected]

Reach Mary Therese Biebel at 570-991-6109 or on Twitter @BiebelMT


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