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Center for

Environment & Society

Chestertown Riverfest (Waterfront Festival)

An annual part of the Fall Family Weekend, RiverFest celebrates Chestertown, Washington College, and (of course) the Chester River! The Center for Environment & Society has teamed up with Chestertown RiverArts and the college’s SANDBOX Initiative for an exciting, action-packed day with activities on the water and land for all ages!

Announcing the 2016 RiverFest Weekend: September 23 - 24, 2016!

The weekend begins on Friday, September 23 with the Illumination of the Sculpture Garden at the Foot of High Street from 5:30 to 8 pm. Followed by a Glow Dance Party complete with Charlie the Peacock. Join us for live music, food and beverages with the illumination taking place at 7:15 pm around sunset. Stick around for a Dance Party until 10 pm. 

The  day-long festival on Saturday, September 24th, at Wilmer Park will include a large number of water activities, including the 10th annual cardboard boat race, open to students and all members of the community, as well as a Poker Run and Kayak and Canoe Races.   

The festival will begin at 11 and run until 5 pm with water and land activities, live music, food, and family fun all day long.

Activities for the family include: 

  • Seaworthy Small Ships boat building 
  • Face painting 
  • Pony Rides (all proceeds benefit the Washington College Equestrian Team) 
  • Build a Buoy (sponsored by the Chester River Watershed Observatory)
  • KidSPOT crafts 
  • Moonbounce and Ball Pit
  • Scales and Tails 
  • Phillip’s Wharf Environmental Center’s Fishmobile
  • and more! 


    The 10th annual cardboard boat race has up to $650 worth of prizes and is always entertaining to be a part of and watch from the sidelines. Participants create homemade cardboard crafts ranging from nautical to whimsical and from seaworthy to waterlogged to compete. For questions please e-mail Jamie Frees (jfrees2@washcoll.edu) Please register and pay your $15 on Eventbrite.

Other Water Activities include: 

Kayak/Canoe Races and a Kayak Poker Run. Registration for either event can be completed at on the RiverArts Page

For more information on the event please see RiverArts’ RiverFest page here.


2016 Schedule of Events!

Friday, September 23: 5:30-10:00 pm

RiverFest Illumination Celebration and Dance Party

Sponsored by SANDBOX and Chestertown RiverArts

Live music with food and beverages available

7:15 Sculpture Garden Unveiling. 

7:45 Charlie the Peacock illumination and Dance Party

Free admission, open to the public


Saturday, September 24: 11:00 am to 5:00 pm

Races, River Activities and the Sun, Sail and Paddle Expo 

9:00 am Paddle Race drop off and registration open (located at Washington College Boathouse)

10:00 am Paddle History Tour (Sponsored by Friend of RiverFest: C.V. Starr Center for the American Experience)

11:00 am Festival Opens

          Environmental Displays

          Artist Vendors

          Family Activities – Phillips Wharf Fish Mobile, Scales &Tails, Pony Rides, KidSPOT                                           Crafts and Facepainting

          Food & Beverages – Ice Cream, BBQ, Hot Dogs & Hamburgers – other Festival                                                Favorites

          Kayak and Canoe Vendors and Displays

          Music (11-12 High School Jazz Band, 12-3 Michael Butler Band, 4-5 Steel Band)

12:00 pm Chester River Rowing Club Demonstration

11:00-2:00 pm Kayak Races

11:00-3:00 pm Poker Run, go out on your own

1:30 pm Paddle History Tour (Sponsored by Friend of RiverFest: C.V. Starr Center)

Callinectes tours available ($5 per person): Sign up at the event limited to the first 25 people per cruise

2:40-3:20* (Note: During the Cardboard Boat Race)

2:40 pm Cardboard Boat Captains’ Meeting (located at CES tent)

2:50 pm Cardboard Boat Parade 

3:00 pm 10th Annual Cardboard Boat Race sponsored by the Center for Environment & Society

3:30 Awards ceremony for all water activities

4:00-5:00 Steel Revolution: Washington College Steel Pan Ensemble