Monday, May 13, 2013

Salmon Riverfest becomes "can't miss" event

The Salmon Riverfest began in 2011 with an informal downriver race and a weekend party.  Riverfest events expanded last year and included exciting race events near Shoup.  This year, The 3rd Annual Riverfest has really hit its stride and is now a "can't miss" event to help kick off the summer river running season.  Organizers worked all winter to put together a great selection activities for everyone whether they are a river runner or not.

Although Riverfest is a major fund-raiser for the Salmon Whitewater Park Association, it's clear that Riverfest has now also catapulted into a signature event of the annual cycle of the Salmon, Idaho, activities calendar.

The 3rd Annual RiverFest will be held June 7th and 8th in Salmon. Riverfest starts Friday the 7th with an 11 am dedication ceremony to honor local river hermit Dugout Dick on Hwy 93 South at the new interpretive display in his honor.

A Friday night film fest of both amateur and professional outdoor films with pizza, beverages, and raffle will be held upstairs at the Odd Fellows’ Hall starting at 6pm.

On Saturday the 8th, RiverFest will start with an 11am parade on Main Street, followed by a "Blessing of The Boats" and then a fun float from Shoup Bridge to the downtown Island Park river access site under the Hwy 93 bridge.

A standup paddleboard river display and kayaker team big ball challenge will take place early afternoon and can be seen from the Hwy 93 bridge

The Farmer’s Market will be in full swing in Town Square Park from 9-1, followed by a pig roast and the Clumsy Lovers band from 6-9 pm at Town Square Park.

Riverfest organizer Breann Westfall said, "There will be plenty of delicious food, beverages, and an amazing band. Bring your lawn chair, these are definitely spectator events."

Ms. Westfall explained the project that Riverfest benefits:


"Riverfest is a fund raising event for The Salmon Whitewater Park Association (SWPA), a locally driven Idaho non-profit association with a mission to facilitate the fundraising, construction, and longevity of a whitewater park in Salmon, Idaho for recreational river opportunity and to boost the local economy.

Our dedicated group of volunteers consists of Russ Chinske (chairman), Craig McCallum (vice chairman), Amy Tonsmeire (secretary), Mark Troy (treasurer), Breann Westfall (project manager), Chace Slavin, Seth Tonsmeire, Preston Rufe, Michael Philpott, and Jo Philpott.

Although the idea for a whitewater park in Salmon spawned in 2005, our current group has been actively pursuing our goal since summer 2010. The process to build a whitewater park is long, tedious and requires tireless volunteer hours.

SWPA has made much headway in the development of the park. Most recently, a Phase I Agreement was signed between the City of Salmon and SWPA, which includes developing and soliciting for Final Engineering Plans and hiring a local environmental consultant to work on the project's permitting. At the March 20th City Council meeting, the Council voted to accept SWPA's Request for Proposals for Final Engineering Plans under the Phase I Agreement.

This spring and summer, a committee of selected City Councilmen, SWPA representatives, and Lemhi County Economic Development Association representatives will solicit reputable whitewater park engineering firms for Final Engineering Plan proposals. After obtaining the Plans, SWPA will then be able to apply for needed state and federal permits for the park. This will be a detailed process that will involves public meetings and comments. SWPA is eager to understand concerns and implement exactly what the Salmon community wants the park to look like.

To date, SWPA has received grants from the City of Salmon LOT, Steele-Reese Foundation (2011 and 2012), Hemmert Foundation (2005 and 2013), and the Idaho Wild Rivers License Plate Grant. MANY private donations have also made a huge impact on our efforts. We cannot thank the local business owners and Salmon community members enough that have donated to the development of the whitewater park."

Click here for Salmon River Idaho articles on last the two previous Riverfests, as well as the whitewater park:







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