Festival gives chance to celebrate ‘heartbeat’ of community

Free event offers fun, education for whole family
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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Residents have a chance this weekend to celebrate the thing that gives Auburn life and recreation. The 20th anniversary of the American River Confluence Festival begins Saturday night with a silent auction. The festival itself runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Overlook Park on Pacific Avenue. The event is hosted by the Auburn-based organization Protect American River Canyons. “We are always excited to bring people together for celebrating our American River,” said Eric Peach, conservation chairman with PARC. “We think it’s a very important aspect of the community. It’s really an opportunity for people to learn more about the recreational amenities in the canyons, the popular trails, where the good wildflowers are. And we are also going to feature safety information about river sports, rafting, kayaking and swimming.” Peach said Sunday’s event will include a variety of offerings for the whole family including live music by multi-instrumentalist and singer Joe Craven. Craven will also be holding a music workshop for all ages. The celebration will also include fashions by Haute Trash, animals from Wild Things, Swing/Jazz music by The Tepid Club, Loping Wolf Cedar Flute Ensemble, Placer Buddhist Taiko Thunder Drummers, the River Plump Fairies, a rock climbing wall and more. “We have got some good fun art activities,” Peach said. “We will be having a wet clay booth where they can make little sculptures. There is painting a canoe, that’s always really popular. We have the Raku ceramics art booth … and I’ll have the opportunity for people to purchase a (ceramic) fish and I’ll glaze it right there.” Peach said the festival normally draws 1,000 to 2,000 people. “It’s compact, intimate, but there’s a lot going on,” he said. “We fit a lot in out there at the Overlook Park.” Peach said one of PARC’s goals for the festival is also to educate those who attend about the possibilities of the river becoming a Wild and Scenic River. “It’s a river designation that protects the natural resources of the river, so we’ll have information about that at our PARC booth,” he said. Auburn artist Deanna Marsh worked with Peach on a donated piece of artwork for the silent auction. “We collaborated on this piece,” Marsh said. “I shared with him an idea I had using some recycled steel from one of my American River sculptures, and from that we built a steel base of flowing water. And then Eric created three Raku fish … to swim through the steel strands of water. Then I completed the piece by integrating the fish into the steel. I think the sculpture really represents our hope for the abundance of health in the eco system and that the fish can really thrive here.” The bidding for the silent auction will continue through Sunday, but Saturday’s event will also include a wine and beer tasting, as well as music by The Tepid Club and finger foods. PARC is asking for a $15 donation Saturday. Sunday’s event is free. Money raised through the auction is planned to go toward the Wild and Scenic River designation, educational programs, river cleanups and a shade structure for the Confluence’s visitors area, Peach said. Auction items include artwork, a mountain bike, a gently used kayak, services from various vendors and more, Peach said. Fran Haynes, founder of the Sugar Plump Fairies, said the Fairies participate in and change their name for the event because of everything the river has to offer the community. Haynes said the festival helps honor the fact that “the river is the heartbeat” of the community by celebrating nature, the history of the area, the ecology, the environment, recreation and more. “We will be repeating what we did last year,” Haynes said. “We did a 20-minute sing along of river and fish songs. So we will be doing songs like “Up a Lazy River” … “Proud Mary” … so we’re trying to appeal to the whole spectrum of age interest. It’s just about creating that community spirit.” Jim Ewing plans to accompany the Fairies on accordion, and the group of six to eight people will be wearing watery colors and fish hats, Haynes said. Peach said the festival is a great way for the community to be one for a day. “The Confluence is the coming together of the two forks of the river and here it’s like a coming together of the community, coming together to celebrate the river and all the good it brings into our lives,” he said. Reach Bridget Jones at ----------------------------------------------------- 20th annual American River Confluence Festival What: A celebration of the American River, American River Canyon and their natural resources. The event includes art, live music, food, community vendors, activities and more. When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday Where: Overlook Park, Pacific Avenue, Auburn Cost: Free Information: Visit and click on the Festival tab, or call (530) 887-9314 Silent auction/wine and beer tasting event: 7-9 p.m. Saturday at Overlook Park. $15 donation requested.