On Saturday, September 16, 1,200 people will gather on the banks of the Rappahannock with friends and family to eat crabs and drink beer. They do it for the food and the friendship and they do it for the river.

For 27 years Riverfest has kept true to its origins. A great party for a good cause. Local attorney Tom Savage was chairman of the first Riverfest committee. Concern about pollution, rampant development and the proposed 200 ft tall Salem Church dam brought the group of friends together to become the voice of the river.

“Our little organization needed money to do more to protect our river. Grants were relatively unknown to us during those years so we rolled up our sleeves and threw a party for the good of the river,” recalled Savage. “We held it on the McDaniels property at city dock. It was a relatively small event compared to modern times. Enos Richardson, Pina Swift and Marcia Keener were among the significant workers.”

Riverfest has grown since those humble beginnings in 1990. This year, 200 volunteers will serve fried catfish, blue crabs and barbecue to over 1,000 people. The live auction and raffle will give folks the opportunity to support FOR and take home vacation packages, adventure activities and local art. Boat rides, open bar, beer trucks and three live bands provide something for everyone.   “The first year we had a great time and raised a relatively large amount of money,” remembered Savage.  “It is so good to see this annual event continue and thrive all these years later.”   Thanks to people like Enos, Thom, Marsha and Pina the tradition of Riverfest continues to fund  FOR’s work and is a sellout every year.

Postscript:  As this post was going live we received a check for a $2,000 sponsorship for Riverfest 2017 from Enos and Ellen Richardson. the river has no better friends!  

Don’t miss out. Visit http://www.riverfriends.org/riverfest/ to become a sponsor or buy your tickets today.

Nick Cadwallender

Development Coordinator




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