“This is a big year for pink salmon and right now Railroad Bridge Park is one of the best places to see them spawning,” says Bob Boekelheide, director of the Dungeness River Audubon Center.
The 12th Dungeness River Festival celebrates the diversity of the river and highlights its importance for the Sequim-Dungeness Valley.
The annual festival, held each fall, is slated for Friday, Sept. 23, and Saturday, Sept. 24, at Railroad Bridge Park, 2151 W. Hendrickson Road.
Admission is free.
Festival goers will find some 25 hands-on nature activities and exhibits including fish printing, bird identification and animal pelts to touch, in addition to expert-guided walks, lively presentations and more.
Salmon burgers, fry bread, Elaine Grinnell’s story telling, drift wood art and music by Juana Marimba, Cort and Kia Armstrong, and Mike Kamphaus are a sample of the attractions. New events this year include nature photography walks with Don Wallace and a program by storyteller and fiddler Mitch Luckett.
The River Center also aims to have the first stage of an “Animal Olympics” course open in time for the festival. The Animal Olympics course will consist of 10 stations with instructions to exercise like a specific animal. For example, you may be asked to “Jump like a frog,” or “Flap like a hummingbird.” This initiative is part of the North Olympic Health Champions program, in which physicians prescribe outdoor activities for children with health concerns, such as obesity or diabetes.
Funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service is enabling the River Center to produce a permanent Animal Olympics course along the Olympic Discovery Trail in Railroad Bridge Park and mobile courses that other communities on the Olympic Peninsula can use.
Railroad Bridge Park offers the best public access to the lower Dungeness and the park provides access to the popular Olympic Discovery Trail. The River Festival provides many opportunities to enjoy the fall bounty of the Olympic Peninsula.
Juana Marimba, will perform on the River Stage at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 23. That afternoon, renowned Jamestown S’Klallam storyteller and tribal elder Elaine Grinnell presents “Legends of the Jamestown S’Klallam People,” at 2 p.m. in the Dungeness River Audubon Center.
Drummers and singers from the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe will open the festival at 10 a.m. Saturday by inviting the crowd to take part in a traditional welcome ceremony.
At 10:45 a.m. Mike Kamphaus and his one-man band and musical show, “Me, Myself & I” will take over the River Stage. At 1:30 p.m., minstrels Cort and Kia Armstrong will start their mountain blues, country music and soul stompin’ sound. Mitch Luckett will start telling tall tales and playing his fiddle from the River Stage at 2:15 p.m.
The Olympic Driftwood Sculptors’ third anniversary art show opens at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25, in the center.
Although the festival closes at 4 p.m. that day, the driftwood art show will continue from 10 a.m.-
4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26.
Proceeds from the festival support the Dungeness River Audubon Center and Railroad Bridge Park.
The Dungeness River Audubon Center’s mission is to inspire understanding, enjoyment and stewardship of the Olympic Peninsula’s unique natural and cultural resources, with emphasis on birds, rivers, fish and people.
For the River Festival program schedule and directions, visit www.DungenessRiverCenter.org or call 683-1355.
Schedule at a glance
• Friday, Sept. 23
Festival hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Railroad Bridge Park
For fun: 25 interactive nature activities and exhibits including fish printing (bring your own white T-shirt to print)
Food: Salmon burgers, fry bread, hot dogs, more
Face Painting: Laff Pack clowns (10 a.m.-noon)
Bird identification contest (10 a.m.-noon), River Center
10:30 a.m. — Juana Marimba, River Stage
11 a.m. — River Walk with Bob Boekelheide; meet at information table
Noon — Nature photography walk with Don Wallace; meet at River Center bird feeders
12:45 p.m. — “Cougars and Bears: Be Aware!” with Powell Jones, River Stage
2-3 p.m. — Legends of the Jamestown S’Klallam People with story teller Elaine Grinnell, River Center
2:30-3:30 p.m. — Trees and shrubs of Railroad Bridge Park with Joe Holtrop; meet at River Center bird feeders (may change to 3 p.m.)
• Saturday, Sept. 24
Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Railroad Bridge Park
Interactive nature activities and exhibits including fish printing (bring your own white T-shirt to print), plus food
Olympic Driftwood Sculptors third anniversary art show in the River Center
Bird identification contest, River Center
10 a.m. — Join the Jamestown S’Klallam drummers and singers, take part in a traditional welcome ceremony
10:45 -11:45 a.m. — Music in the Park with Mike Kamphaus, one-man band and musical show, “Me, Myself & I”; at River Stage
11 a.m. — Nature photography walk with Don Wallace; meet at River Center bird feeders
11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. — “Cougars and Bears: Be Aware!” with Powell Jones, River Stage. (Repeats at 1:45 p.m.)
12:30 -1:30 p.m. — Music in the Park with Mike Kamphaus at River Stage
1-2 p.m. — Trees and shrubs of Railroad Bridge Park with Joe Holtrop; meet at River Center bird feeders
1:30-3:30 p.m. — Music in the Park with Cort & Kia Armstrong (mountain blues, country music)
2 p.m. — “How They Built the Bridge,” meet engineer Ken Wiersema on the railroad bridge at the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society table.
2:15 p.m. — Tall tales and fiddle tunes with Mitch Luckett. River Stage
3 p.m. — River Walk with Bob Boekelheide; meet at information table
• Sunday, Sept. 25
At Railroad Bridge Park
10 a.m.-4 p.m. — Olympic Driftwood Sculptors third anniversary art show in the Dungeness River Audubon Center