By: Sherry Williams Kidd | Email: Click Here
Posted: May 3, 2018 | 2:00 p.m.
VIRGINIA – Last Saturday, the Friends of the Lower Appomattox River (FOLAR), hosted the 2018 Riverfest, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. It was a day of family fun, featuring 20-plus regional partners, delicious food, local Trapezium Brews, and a host of different fun and exciting outdoor activities! There was something for absolutely everyone—young and old alike! There was an audible buzz of excitement, laughter, and joy in the air as attendees strolled the beautiful trails, going from one adventure, activity, and exhibit, to the next.
The event was held at the Appomattox Riverside Park, 24909 Ferndale Road, Petersburg, Virginia, on the rocky rapid falls where Dinwiddie, Petersburg, and Chesterfield meet. The day-long family event was for river and nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs, and everyone that wanted to spend a pristinely-beautiful Virginia spring day outside enjoying the scenic and historic treasures of the Appomattox River.
Fishing poles and kayaks handed-out for anyone to use—they even bait your hook! Does it get any better than this? (Rodger Allen Kidd)
“I am a soldier from Fort Lee here with my two twin daughters,” said James Krannebicter. “We have really loved the kayaks and I’m pretty proud that the kayak rides are being given by Fort Lee. The girls and I are just loving this. There is so much to see and do, and it’s all here in this one awesome place. We are so glad we came.”
An extremely popular activity loved by the kids were the youth fishing workshops, provided by Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries. There was also a kayaking workshop with certified instructors from Fort Lee Morale, Welfare, and Recreation. Many attendees found the archaeological activities and demonstrations fascinating. There was an obstacle course, courtesy of Fort Lee, that challenged many of the participants. Some of the attendees enjoyed an activity detecting and viewing rare fauna along the trails, with the help of a Naturalist. Other attendees enjoyed a workshop identifying and learning about the varieties of fish, reptiles, amphibians, bugs, and birds, that help keep the river healthy, with the guidance of Environment Education Specialists and AWARE, Alliance of Wild Animal Rehabilitators and Educators.
Many of the clearly-interested young folks were quite fascinated and impressed in the “cool” bugs and “slimy snakes and things,” but it was quite clear that some of the more mature participants were more than just a little squeamish with the little creatures.
Blues and More, Mike Packer and Johnny Holt, Petersburg, delight the crowds with their up-beat music! (Rodger Allen Kidd)
“Many people are not aware that wildlife rehabilitators can sometimes rehabilitate or heal many of the wild animals that are routinely put down after they are injured,” said Roslyn Ryan, Wildlife Rehabilitator. “It is often assumed that injured wild animals must always be put down. This is not the case. We can sometimes heal these animals to the point where they can actually be returned and survive alone again in the wild. If the animals can be healed, but not to the point where they can be returned and survive in the wild, we will keep them as wildlife ambassadors. We love and care for these animals, and people love to see these beautiful animals up-close.”
There were many folks just strolling or riding a tram along the river walk trail, which provides breathtaking views of the river. Other folks spent time learning the history of the river, with the help of the Virginia Canals and Navigation Society. Many were seen enjoying Trapezium Craft Beer, trying the different delicacies of numerous food trucks, and everyone enjoyed the toe-tapping, finger-snapping live music by Mike Packer & Johnny Holt!
Roslyn Ryan displays Zeus, a female red-shouldered hawk. She too will remain as a wildlife ambassador. (Rodger Allen Kidd)
Now for those of you wondering why Zeus, the female red-shouldered hawk, is named Zeus, there is an answer. According to Roslyn Ryan, Wildlife Rehabilitator, “Well when we took her in several years ago, she was quite small like most male hawks, so we named her Zeus. “Two weeks ago, Zeus laid an egg. She’s definitely not a male.”
The day was absolutely jam-packed with great fun, great food, great people, and great activities. There were so many new things to discover and do. Riverfest 2018 will be forever ingrained in the memories of those attending, and will go down as one of those amazing events held on a pristinely-beautiful Virginia spring day that was second-to-none.