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Inspirational celebration, bike trips and cleanups planned for RiverFest

Approximately 70 people turned out to help pick up trash during the 2013 river cleanup along the St. Croix riverfront in Hudson. Volunteers are needed for the Hudson and North Hudson cleanups on Tuesday, July 15. (Submitted photo)

Several activities are planned for this year’s RiverFest to attract people of all ages and different levels of interest to the riverfront.

RiverFest: Party with a Purpose, is taking place to celebrate the St. Croix and recognize the need to preserve its clean and pristine beauty. In addition to the annual river cleanups, three major events have been added to this year’s events — on Sunday, July 13, a non-denominational inspirational celebration and two separate bike rides are planned.

The inspirational celebration will be in the Lakefront Park band shell on Sunday, July 13, starting at 9 a.m. The St. Croix Sacred Ensemble will present a musical celebration singing spiritually-infused songs with a river theme. The ensemble rarely preforms during the summer months, so their presence will be a welcome addition to RiverFest.

Two separate bicycle trips will immediately follow the inspirational celebration — the ice cream trail ride to the south and the loop trail ride to the north. The ice cream trail will consist of a family-oriented ride from Hudson to Selma’s Ice Cream Parlor in Afton and then looping back to the Hudson Dairy Queen. This family-oriented ride will use designated paths across the interstate bridge and along the Afton to Lakeland trail. Guides from Hudson’s YMCA will lead the ride starting from the Riverfront Athletic Club parking lot.

The second bike ride will be a guided, informational bike tour designed to highlight the loop trail that will be built in 2017 as part of the St. Croix River Crossing project, as well as trail connection opportunities that the loop trail will make possible. Registration for the ride is from 8:30-9:30 a.m. on the north end of Lakefront Park. The ride begins at 9:45 a.m. with an informational presentation in Lakefront Park and the trek north will start at 10 a.m.

The trip will start in Hudson’s Lakefront Park, proceed north following the current riverfront pathway in Hudson to Hwy. 35, and across the bridge into the village of North Hudson. From the village, the trail continues along Hwy. 35 into the town of St. Joseph where the new St. Croix River Crossing bridge will make landfall in Wisconsin.

There will be several stops along the loop trail with information provided by various organizations involved in trail planning. Refreshments will be served at the “top” of the ride in the town of St. Joseph and the group will return to Lakefront Park along the same route without any stops and is expected to return by 2 p.m.

If you’ve been wondering what all the scuttlebutt about the bike trails associated with the new bridge is about, plan to join the loop trail ride. This ride is for cyclists aged 16 years or older. River Valley Trails and Art Doyle’s Spokes and Pedals are organizing and sponsoring the ride.

There are no fees associated with either bike event, but riders taking the south loop will need to cover the costs for their own ice cream treats at both stops. It is also important to note that bicycle helmets will be required for both rides.

Cleanup plans

Plans are also underway for major shoreline cleanups in the Hudson area on Tuesday, July 15, and several more volunteers are needed to make this year’s event a success. The cleanups start at 9 a.m. in both Hudson and the village of North Hudson. Teams will be formed and will fan out from Lakefront Park or Ferry Landing Park. More information about the cleanups is available on the RiverFest website.

These cleanups are held every July in conjunction with River Awareness Week, and, as with last year, the trash that is collected will be used to re-adorn Scrappy the Splashing Bass sculpture -- the official RiverFest mascot. Scrappy will be worked on by the students enrolled in The Phipps Center for the Arts’ Just Add Water class. They will work with artists, including Mary Johnson who designed Scrappy, at Picnic Point near the St. Croix Art Bench. The public is invited to watch the artists at work.

For full information on each of these activities and a complete list of all activities, visit the RiverFest website at


RiverFest is made possible through grants, sponsorships and a large number of community organizations and volunteers. The following businesses and organizations have offered financial support:

Grant: Hudson Daybreak Rotary Club.

Major sponsor: Uline.

Supporting sponsors: Heppner’s River City Collision, Phillips-Medisize Corporation, The Purple Tree, Sandeen Insurance, Xcel Energy. Investor Sponsors: John P. Kalmon Architect, Citizens State Bank, Hudson Hot Air Affair and Westconsin Credit Union.

Media sponsors: Hudson/Troy Burne Neighbors, Hudson Star-Observer and St. Paul Pioneer Press/

In-kind donations: Hudson House Grand Hotel, Laser Magic and St. Paul Pioneer Press/