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Go with the flow at the Confluence Festival

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Celebrate all the American River has to offer this weekend during the 18th annual American River Confluence Festival. While the main event is held Sunday, this year’s festivities begin a day early, with a film festival Saturday evening at Overlook Park, located at 855 Pacific Ave. in Auburn. “Everybody seems cool with the idea of an evening of outdoor movies,” said Eric Peach, Protect American River Canyons’ conservation coordinator. “It’s something we’ve always wanted to do. It’s nice to change things up.” Gary Hughes, an Auburn State Recreation Area Canyon Keeper and photographer, kicks off what Peach called the “hay-bale tour” of the canyon with a slide show of American River scenic shots. The evening continues with a screening of “They Crossed the Mountains: A History of the Western States Trail,” at the festival’s River Stage, at 8:30 p.m. The evening comes to a close with a showing of “Above the American,” introduced by KVIE’s Kelly Peterson, the film’s producer. “We’re getting to see some amazing films,” Peach said. Saturday’s show is presented free and is open to all. Sunday’s festival starts on the right foot with a 7:45 a.m. fun run led by Gordon Ainsleigh. Meet at the River Stage to take part in this 45-minute moderate run. Not that much of an early bird? The festival’s official start time at 9 a.m. is marked with a river blessing by Roger Groghan and the Loping Wolf Cedar Flute Players, and a 9:30 a.m. white dove ceremonial release. Those looking for a little more action at 9:30 a.m. can meet at the River State to join Auburn Bike Works for a mountain bike ride in the canyon rim area. At the same time and departing from the same location, an early bird hike led by Tom Petersen, trail guide author, focuses on river and canyon ecology. The shady grove area is home to juggling with Izzi Tooinsky (at 11 a.m.) a visit with Wild Things Inc. and their wild animals at 11:30 a.m. and more. River State entertainment kicks off with Native American flute music at 9:30 a.m., followed by a tai chi demonstration at 10 a.m. and Izzi Tooinsky’s juggling and story telling at 10:15 a.m. Tooinsky takes the stage again at 1:45 p.m., and in between visitors can catch the Thunderfoot Cloggers at 10:45 a.m., In Full Swing at 11:15 a.m. (and again at 2:15 p.m.), a presentation by PARC President Tim Woodall at 12:15 p.m., the Haute Trash recycled fashion show at 12:30 p.m. and dancing by newcomers Al Ama at 1:15 p.m. The Confluence Festival celebrates a family-friendly atmosphere, offering kid-centric activities like face painting, chalk art, a rock-climbing wall, kids art and more. Peach said some 30 informational and vendor booths will be on site Sunday, serving up literature, products, food and drinks. “We’ve got everything from bear boxes to walking sticks,” Peach said. Access to the China Bar White Water Recreation Area is free to all Sunday from the Maidu Drive gate, Peach said. No shuttle to the water will be available this year, but some parking is available at the site and drop off is always an option too. ~Staff Report