Full day of fun planned for Confluence Festival

Arts, music, conservation merge
By: Krissi Khokhobashvili, Journal features editor
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People show their love for the American River in many ways here – they paint it, photograph it, write about it, explore it. On Sunday, they can show their appreciation by attending a party in its honor at the American River Confluence Festival.

“Basically, we want to get involved with the American River canyons,” said Eric Peach, board member for host organization Protect American River Canyons.

The event is free to attend; proceeds from vendors, silent auction and the Saturday night wine and beer tasting event go toward “river stuff,” according to Sue Groghan, state park volunteer.

One of the beneficiaries is the Junior Ranger educational program, for which Groghan and her husband, Roger, serve as volunteers. Another youth activity is the salmon flute workshops in schools, where children make their own flute and learn a song.

Highlights of this year’s festival include the 99-year-old Mountain Quarries Railroad locomotive, which will be moved to American River Overlook Park for viewing by the public, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Mountain Quarries Railroad Bridge.

There will be a river blessing and white dove release at 9 a.m., kids art and nature activities and poster signing by Mystic Designs, which creates the colorful posters for the festival each year. “Georgetown Hiking Guide” author Tom Petersen will lead a canyon ecology hike, and there will be a fun run, mountain bike ride and rock climbing wall.

Entertainment is diverse this year, as always, with performances by Haute Trash, using fashions made from recycled materials to educate people on the need to conserve, and Izzy Tooinsky, a juggler and storyteller. The Tepid Club of Cool cabaret swing jazz ensemble will perform, and the Pyronauts will play surf music. 

“We’ve always realized that people love the river, they want to support it, but they want to be entertained, too,” Peach said. “We try to pick entertainment that follows in that vein, to a certain extent.”

That includes multi-instrumentalist Joe Craven, who will also teach a music workshop during the festival. The hands-on workshop will teach people that, no matter their experience, they already have the fundamental skills to create music.

During his performance, Craven will offer what he calls his “extreme makeovers of folk music.” Using an electronic looper, he’ll record sounds onstage to play back during the performance, and will create music using “found sounds” from a box full of unusual objects, like tin cans, that he uses to make music.

This is the second Confluence Festival for the Dixon musician, who said he had a great time last year.

“It’s a great consciousness-raising event, to me,” Craven said. “And of course, doing it in the landscape of a festival is a great way to galvanize community awareness of the American River and what it means to preserve it and manage it in ways that will honor the environment, and therefore the people who live in that area.”



American River Confluence Festival

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 10

Where: American River Overlook Park, Pacific Avenue, Auburn

Cost: Free

Info: (530) 887-9314;



Festival kickoff

What: Wine tasting from local wineries, beer tasting, cabaret music, finger food and silent auction of recreational gear, artwork and more

When: 7-9 p.m. Saturday, June 9

Where: American River Overlook Park

Cost: $20

Info: (530) 887-9314;