Local Celebration Inspires Community-Based Education
The rivers of western Massachusetts run like veins through our local landscape, each one giving life to the valleys through which it flows. Families can celebrate the life-giving nature of our local waterways at the Deerfield River Watershed Association’s annual RiverFest, a community celebration of the river’s role in local life. While RiverFest specifically celebrates the village of Shelburne Falls’ relationship with the Deerfield River, the Deerfield’s watershed feeds directly into the Connecticut River, a body of water whose currents have helped to define much of life in our part of the state. So no matter how near or far from the river your home may be, it’s still important to honor the river!
Held primarily on Saturday, June 6th, RiverFest offers a wide variety of events, including opportunities for both celebration and community-based learning. With the bulk of the festival’s excitement taking place on (and very close to) Shelburne Falls’ Main Street, it’s easy for families to explore and learn on foot. Main Street highlights will include live music and dancing throughout the day, fly-casting, river rafting, Native American storytelling, birds of prey demonstrations, various kids’ games and activities, as well as vendor tents and tables. A short walk from Main Street is the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum, where visitors can take a ride on a trolley that once ran across the Bridge of Flowers. Educational booths and vendor tables will be open on Main Street from 10am-4pm.
In addition to visiting educational tables and vendor booths, families ensure that they receive a true RiverFest experience by participating in the Frog and Flower Parade, a fantastic spectacle which begins on State Street at 12:30pm. Prior to the parade, families can visit the Art Garden’s Parade Workshop Tent, located in front of Buckland Town Hall. Filled with all sorts of materials for making beautiful river-themed creatures, the tent offers families a one-stop parade preparation spot, at which families can decorate their own pieces to carry in the parade in support of the watershed. Of course, there’s no better way to show love for a place than through public displays of appreciation – so join the Art Garden in celebrating the Deerfield River Watershed and march proudly in the Frog and Flower Parade!
Further community-based learning opportunities exist outside of Shelburne Falls as part of RiverFest. On Friday, June 5th, TransCanada will offer tours of Deerfield Station No. 4, a pump station located on Creamery Avenue in Buckland. Families can learn about how the river is used to generate power, and the extensive repairs that the station underwent following Hurricane Irene. Additionally, on Sunday, June 7th, families can explore the Chickley River in Hawley to learn about reparations made after Hurricane Irene and ways to restore the landscape in order to prevent further destruction.