Festival celebrates Kenai River

Posted: Friday, June 06, 2008

Like the blooming lupine and returning salmon, the annual Kenai River Festival has become a summer staple of the Kenai Peninsula, and this year's shindig will be the biggest and best ever, according to organizers.

"The Kenai River Festival is the festival to celebrate and reflect on the importance of the Kenai River in our lives," said festival director Josselyn O'Conner.

The festival is billed as time for people to think about the great recreational, economic and educational opportunities available from the river, as well as to learn how to take care of this waterway and understand their part in its survival. As such, there is a huge educational component focusing on teaching children the benefits of taking care of the Kenai River and the watershed as a whole, according to O'Conner.

"It definitely centers around educating children to the importance of the river, and this year we have 30 free, hands-on science activities -- everything from building your own bird house, to the Hooked on Fishing rod and reel give away, to learning about invasive plants with the Kenaitze," she said.

While there is plenty to do for youngsters, O'Conner said there is much to capture adults' interest as well.

"We have more vendors than we've ever had before. We have 40 vendors and artists with locally crafted items," she said.

Fitness fanatics can also take part in either a 5-kilometer walk/race or a 10-mile race.

"It's by the river for a good portion of the run, so its very scenic," O'Conner said.

Race registration and warm-up will begin at 8 a.m. with the 10-mile race starting at 8:30 a.m. and the 5K race starting at 9:00 a.m. at Soldotna Creek Park in downtown Soldotna. Participants can register at the Kenai Watershed Forum office or online at Active.com. Registration includes a Run for the River T-shirt and a two-week membership to the Peninsula Athletic Club. Prizes will also be awarded in several age categories.

For more information on the Kenai River Festival, to view a full list of activities and vendors, or to view maps of the walk/run courses, visit www.kenaiwatershed.org or call the Kenai Watershed Forum at 907-260-5449.

Joseph Robertia can be reached at joseph.robertia@peninsulaclarion.com.

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