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RiverFest starts July 17

Jessie Eckroad from Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center leads a presentation with live animal ambassadors. The center will be returning for a RiverFest presentation on Tuesday, July 17 at 11:30 at Picnic Point, at the south end of Lakefront Park. Submitted photo

RiverFest: A Party with a Purpose will be held July 17-22 to celebrate the St. Croix River and to encourage people to get out and enjoy the river while recognizing the need to preserve and protect the river.

This six-day community event is made possible through the collaboration of many partner organizations and individuals who unite to provide a wide assortment of activities to appeal people of all ages and different levels of interest.

Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center is one of the many partner organizations who will be hosting events during RiverFest. Join CNC 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 17, at Lakefront Park Picnic Point to learn about the many wildlife species that share the ecosystem and meet live animal ambassadors. On Wednesday, July 18, at 7 p.m., the center will host an evening prairie hike at their Wisconsin Campus Trail.

Hudson Area Public Library joins RiverFest by offering river-themed events, including Toddler Story Time 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, July 17. On Wednesday, July 18 at 10:30 a.m., a naturalist from Willow River State Park will introduce children to animals from the St. Croix River. On Saturday, July 21 at 10:30 a.m., Echo the Mermaid will be visiting the Library to share stories of life along the St. Croix River.

City of Hudson will present the Toonies ENVIRO-FUN Puppet Show 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 17, at the Lakefront. The Toonies will bring together viewers of all ages in environmental awareness, teamwork and fun.

Also, on Tuesday, The Phipps Center for the Arts will host a Pop-up Art + Nature activity at the Art Bench (at the south end of the park) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is a hands-on opportunity to learn about nature, be creative, and interact with a National Park Service ranger. Throughout RiverFest, students from the Phipps "Deluxe River Exploration" class will work with artist Liz Malanaphy to transform the trash and recyclables collected during the river clean-up to create a new "skin" for the Scrappy sculpture, the RiverFest mascot.

The St. Croix Sailing School will host an open house 2-4 p.m. Thursday, July 19, at the south end of Lakefront Park at Picnic Point.

The St. Croix County Sportsman's Alliance, and Hudson Rod, Gun and Archery Club will sponsor a Kids Fishing Derby 8- 0 a.m. Saturday, July 21, on the southwest bay of Lake Mallalieu. The derby is for children ages 6-12 with prizes for all. Mentors, bait and some fishing poles will be provided.

The St. Croix County Historical Society will host its annual Civil War encampment 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, July 22, at the Octagon House Museum. Re-enactors will share stories of the life of a Civil War soldier and visitors can enjoy an old-fashioned ice cream social fundraiser.

Additional RiverFest event partner organizations include: Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, Sustain Hudson, Youth Action Hudson, National Park Service, Prescott Guards Volunteer Infantry, Hudson YMCA, Willow River State Park, Wisconsin DNR, St. Croix River Association, St. Croix River Cruises, Bernick's Pepsi-Cola, Hudson Dairy Queen and Hudson County Market.

Other activities scheduled for the week include a Thursday evening concert by the St. Croix Valley Community Band, a Friday evening RiverFest Nature Boat Cruise and a Saturday Native American Celebration.