Washington, MO is one of the most river-centric towns on the Lower Missouri River. The beautiful park overlooking the river is the ideal place to hold, not just a community river clean-up, but also a local river festival highlighting the town's connection to the river. We had our sixth Washington River Festival and Missouri River Clean-up on April 8, 2017. And it was the best ever.
Because of high water on the Missouri River, we changed our plan at the last minute to attack land-based sites along creeks and streams near Washington. The weather was perfect and we had 170 volunteers show up to remove 5.75 tons of junks from the banks and floodplains of our streams. An amazing day, really.
The festival was the best ever, with really great music, food, drinks education booths, art projects and more. We'll keep updating this page!
On Thursday before the cleanup it became clear that the river would be in floodstage on Saturday. Following our policy, we essentially canceled the Missouri River part of the clean-up and started finding parks and streams around Washington that our volunteers could work on.
Our sites were centered around Busch Creek, with locations near the High School, the old Fricke Trailer Court (new city property), the Old Busch Brewery, the Middle School, Berger Park and the eastern trailhead for the Riverfront Trail. We also had volunteers working along the Riverfront Trail and the new park area where the Riverfront trail extension will continue upstream from the boat docks. Other groups cleaned up Augusta Bottoms Road, Phoenix Park and near the park in Dutzow.
We still sent out two of our river clean-up boats with more experienced volunteers. The high water made a unique opportunity to be able to boat up St. John's Creek, and our crews found a heck of a project up there. They found two compressed bales of milk jug plastic that had been washed out of the City's recycling plant in 2001. The volunteers broke up the bales, bagged the plastic, hauled it to boats and boated it up to a bridge near the recycling plant. City Streets Director Tony Bonastia met them there with a truck which they loaded up for the recycling plant. After 15 years, those bottles got baled up again!
This was the sixth year for the Washington River Festival, and it was the best. Our growing committee of community members, led by Gloria Attoun, brought together a fantastic mix of education, music, art, food and tasty treats...all to celebrate the Missouri River!
Here's a taste of all the amazing people and groups that contributed.
11 am - Babaloo - Complete fun for the whole family! Bring your kids and the neighbor kids!
Noon - World Bird Sanctuary - an hour of entertainment and learning with live birds! Sponsored by Washington Boat Club.
1 pm - River Kittens - tight, clever and rootsy vocal trio from St. Louis.
2 pm - Art Auction (Jean Ponzi, auctioneer) - incredible art by local talent!
3 pm - Woodshine - Modern and energetic bluegrass from these Washington natives.
4 pm - Texas Giants - classic rock and country.
Check out the amazing list of our exhibitors on the right! It's like a "who's-who" list of river and nature organizations.
Fun and educational activities for the whole family!
Collaborative River Mural with Arts Council of Washington
"Boat Graffiti" - The Snider family is bringing their wooden boat and YOU can leave a message to the river on it!
Missouri River Camera Obscura School Bus - Augusta artist Teri Moore has created this awesome pinhole camera out of a school bus. You have to experience it!
Transform invasive bush honeysuckle into fun furniture with artist and woodworker Dale Dufer
Face Painting by Maria
"What the River Means to Me" student art display
Plus, lots of kid's activities to keep your toddler's smiling...
A 2 p.m. Art Auction - featuring amazing works of art from local river artists, wood sculptors, and trash-to-art artists!
All proceeds benefit Missouri River Relief! Click here to check out the art!
Purchase a raffle ticket for Cheryl Heggemann's beautiful handmade quilt, celebrating our stretch of the river, which is the southern-most part of the Missouri River.
Join this master of native botanical lore for a stroll through Washington's beautiful riparian forest to learn the plants and ecology of this special treasure.