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St. Croix RiverFest has many events, July 13-18

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Minnesota sculptor Mary Johnson has been commissioned through a private grant to create a river-themed sculpture for RiverFest. The steel armature for her splashing bass figure will be completed using debris collected during the river cleanup.2 / 2

A number of organizations and individuals have come together to help launch RiverFest "A Party with a Purpose!" Events are scheduled in and around Hudson beginning Saturday, Aug. 13, and continuing through Aug. 18.

This event is held in conjunction with River Awareness Week (July 13-21). RiverFest celebrates the river while recognizing the need to preserve its health and beauty. Several activities are planned to make this multi-day RiverFest event a success and appeal to a wide mix of people.

"The St. Croix River is one of the cleanest tributaries flowing to the Mississippi River, but it's not without its challenges," said RiverFest organizer Paul Bourget. "There is too much phosphorus, which leads to algae blooms; and many invasive species are moving in, threatening to displace native plants and animals.

"These are just two of the major challenges we face in conserving the quality of the St. Croix watershed. For one week every year, the St. Croix River Association (SCRA) coordinates efforts to make us all more 'River Aware' in the hopes of building a more lasting river connection. People take care of what they love, and everyone has a role in taking care of our water.

"During that week, SCRA invites people to celebrate the river and help clean it up as part of River Awareness Week. This weeklong event along the St. Croix River, and its tributaries, is a great way for people of all ages to experience the amazing gift we have in our own front yard."

Visit for more information about various RiverFest activities, and all River Awareness Week events. Some of the details include:

Canoe/Kayak Flotilla

There will be two separate opportunities for families to enjoy the river first-hand. Family kayaking from Hudson Lakefront Park to YMCA Camp St. Croix and St. Croix County Troy Beach Park will be on Monday, July 15, at 10 a.m. and Tuesday, July 16, at 4 p.m. Participants will meet at the Hudson boat launch at First and Buckeye streets for a safety demonstration. Registrants will be shuttled back to Lakefront Park following St. Croix 101.

The trip downriver will take a little over an hour with a power boat from the St. Croix Marina shadowing the paddlers. The YMCA Camp's newly-restored voyageur canoe will transport eight passengers and two staff dressed in period costume. Anyone may paddle or row along with their own non-motorized craft.

Kayaks are being made available by Kinni Creek Outfitters at a discount rate, particularly if you register for them early. Kinni Creek Outfitters may be contacted at (877) 504-9705 or go to Reservations may be made for both the canoe and kayaks at, which includes a map of the planned flotilla and other related information.

St. Croix 101

A grilled lunch/supper will follow the two paddle trips at Troy Beach (suggested donation $3) and three short educational presentations (St. Croix 101). The Corps of Engineers will present information on the incredibly diverse and fascinating native freshwater mussels of the St. Croix River; and conservation initiatives from threats to the more than 30 species, including many state and federally protected species that occur in the St. Croix River watershed.

The St. Croix River harbors the most diverse assemblage of freshwater mussels in the upper Midwest. A presentation by a malacologist with the Corps who is familiar with mussels of the region, will offer interesting and hands-on information of these organisms. The Carpenter Nature Center will display a raptor and a variety of water animals including a turtle, a snake, a frog or toad.

Jen Vieth, executive director, will discuss some of the natural history of the area and the importance of the river habitat to the wildlife. She will also cover some of the simple activities that people can do to help preserve area wildlife. St. Croix County Historical Society volunteer Jacki Bradham will then channel the "spirit" of Eliza Page who was one of Hudson's first settlers and a Thompsonian physician. "Eliza" will share stories of the fur trade with the Ojibwe and Dakota, Hudson's lumber industry and the development of Hudson's Railroad. In case of rain, the three presentations will be held in buildings nearby.

Sailing open houses

The Saint Croix Sailing School will be holding two open houses, July 16 and 18, from 2 to 4 p.m. each day. Representatives from the school as well as the St. Croix Sailing Club will be on hand to answer questions, talk sailing, and offer help in getting started. Boats will be on display and food and refreshments will be served. The school is located at First and Buckeye on the Hudson waterfront.

Library program

Concert in the Park

A concert by the Steamboat Kings, a four-piece band out of the Twin Cities, is scheduled July 18 at 7 p.m. in the Lakefront Park band shell, bringing the RiverFest activities to a close. During intermission, the SOS Players will perform, also a canoe will be raffled by the St. Croix River Association. While the concert is going on rain barrel painting will take place, the Let's Go Fishing excursions will be running and there will be displays by various organizations held in the parking lot across from the Phipps.

Paint a rain barrel

30 p.m. Participants will design and paint a rain barrel for home. Children, accompanied by an adult, are welcome. To register for the workshop go to For additional information, call (715) 386-9336.

River cleanup

Splashing Bass sculpture

Minnesota sculptor Mary Johnson has been commissioned through a private grant to create a river-themed sculpture for RiverFest. The steel armature for her splashing bass figure was constructed in her studio and will be temporarily transported to Lakefront Park.

Students from the Phipps' Just Add Water class will then work with the artist to complete the sculpture using debris collected during the river cleanup. A contest to name the bass will be held and it will then be on permanent display at Camp St. Croix and available for transport to future events. A contest for naming the bass is underway and you can email your ideas to: The winner will be announced at the Thursday concert. Students ages 8 and up can still sign up for the Just Add Water Special Edition class that will be creating the sculpture with Johnson. Call The Phipps at (715) 386-2305, or stop into the office to sign up for the July 18 class.

Let's Go Fishing

Yoga on the River

15 a.m. Children must be accompanied by an adult to participate. Contact DeAnn Nicklay at for more information.

Log Rolling Demonstration

The Hudson Log Rolling Club will have a demonstration at the beach at Lakefront Park on July 15 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The public is invited to either watch the demonstration or jump in the water and give the logs a spin. All ages are welcome to participate, but a waiver will need to be signed by an adult if minors want to participate. This historic sport has its foundation built on the St Croix River. For additional information, email Jennifer Serpico at

RiverFest is being made possible through grants from the Hudson Community Foundation, Hudson Daybreak Rotary and a private donor organization.

Doug Stohlberg

Doug Stohlberg has been part of the Hudson Star-Observer since 1973 and has been editor since 1987. He worked at the New Richmond News from 1971 to 1973. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota.

(715) 808-8600