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CES’s Waterfront Festival is Now RiverFest!

  • RiverFest promises plenty of family activities.
    RiverFest promises plenty of family activities.
  • A cardboard boat is carried to the river's edge for the 2014 race.
    A cardboard boat is carried to the river's edge for the 2014 race.

Location: Wilmer Park

September 26, 2015
For the 2015 event, to be held September 26 during Fall Family Weekend, the Center is partnering with local nonprofit RiverArts and the College’s SANDBOX Initiative to add more events, including new paddle races and a floating illuminated sculpture on the Chester River.

CHESTERTOWN, MD—The Center for Environment & Society at Washington College, has partnered with the College’s Sandbox Initiative and a local nonprofit to take its annual fall Waterfront Festival to another level, and with a new name: RiverFest. For the 2015 event, scheduled for Saturday, September 26, as part of the Fall Family Weekend on campus , the Center and SANDBOX will work with Chestertown RiverArts to add more events, including kayak and canoe races, and a floating illuminated sculpture on the Chester River.  

The festival begins at noon, when the park will be filled with music; activities for families; a Sun, Sail and Paddle Expo displaying small watercraft and accessories; art and environmental displays; and food and drink. 

The first water event of the afternoon will be the RiverArts Poker Run, in which participants will paddle to each of five buoys stationed along the river to pick up a sealed envelope containing a playing card. After all paddlers return to shore, they open their five envelopes at once and compare their cards to see who drew the winning hand for a cash prize. 

Washington College’s Ninth Annual Cardboard Boat Regatta will take to the water at 3:00  p.m. The popular competition is open to students and all members of the community. Participants create homemade cardboard crafts ranging from nautical and seaworthy to whimsical and waterlogged. The regatta takes place along the waterfront by Wilmer Park and awards some $650 worth of prizes.  For questions about the Regatta, email Jamie Frees at jfrees2@washcoll.edu.  

Kayak and canoe races will start and finish in front of Wilmer Park and cover a mile-long course that extends south to a broad turn at the mouth of Radcliffe Creek. The race will begin with a heat for kayaks 12 feet long and over. A second heat will feature kayaks less than 12 feet, and a third will be for twosomes in tandem kayaks and canoes.  

The RiverArts Parade of Lights will begin just prior to the illumination of the solar sculpture. Led by RiverArts’ KidSPOT children, festival goers will walk together to the end of High Street, where the illumination of the floating sculpture will take place as the sun sets in the west and the moon rises over the eastern shore of the Chester.  

The RiverFest floating sculpture is designed by Vicco and Jacquie von Voss with logistical and engineering support from Zane Carter and Ed Minch.  A 1991 graduate of Washington College, Vicco von Voss is a master woodworker and furniture maker best known for his use of natural materials. His work has been displayed at galleries including Kohl Gallery at Washington College; the Carla Massoni Gallery, Chestertown; Academy Art Museum, Easton; and Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, Washington, D.C.; and also in Hamburg, Germany. 

Painters competing in the RiverFest Plein Air competition will be visible throughout Chestertown and the waterfront. Out-of-town visitors can join walking tours of downtown Chestertown. The Sultana has two public sails scheduled during the day, and the Center for Environment & Society will offer rides on its research vessel, the Callinectes ($10 per person). Echo Hill Outdoor School will showcase its classic skipjack, the Elsworth, and its historic oyster buy boat, the Annie D

To learn more about RiverFest or to register for the Poker Run, cardboard boat regatta and paddle races visit www.chestertownriverarts.org and click on “Annual Events.” 


Last modified on Sep. 8th, 2015 at 11:58am by .