Washington River Festival & Cleanup 2015

Saturday, April 18, 2015
Rennick Riverfront Park, Washington, MO

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 cleanup, but also a local river festival highlighting the town's connection to the river.

This was our fifth year to host the Washington River Festival and Missouri River Cleanup, and it was the best yet! The River Festival was hosted by organizer and musician Gloria Attoun Bauermeister along with a huge list of festival committee members, partners and volunteers. 

There was a river cleanup and activities all day long. This year we expanded the art auction, with donations of paintings, prints, sculptures and stunning creations made from trash or scrap. Students submitted poems and drawings depicting "What the River Means to Me". Regional organizations shared knowledge and opportunities for people to help the river. A parade of local bands jammed on the riverside and there was even a riverside yoga session.

Missouri River Cleanup

The river cleanup started in the morning. Our goal was to have one boat head out every half hour, but instead we got way more volunteers than that. So we just rushed to get everyone working at sites as soon as possible. And they worked hard! We had two groups led by some Stream Team gurus that cleaned an area inaccessible to our boats. All the trash had to be hauled by canoe to where our boats could get it!

Another group found a dumpster full of trash that had apparently floated out of St. John's Creek in the previous week's flash flood event. It was nasty, but they completely cleaned that thing out and bagged it up. We were not able to get the dumpster itself out, but hope to soon. 

In total 168 volunteers helped on the river clean-up, removing an estimated 5.3 tons of trash from 7 river miles.

All of the trash was sorted for recyclables by a tireless group of volunteers, and all those recyclables were hauled away by the City of Washington. 

2015 Washington River Festival

This is the fifth year to host a river cleanup and the Washington River Festival. Organizer Gloria Attoun Bauermeister has built this each year, with amazing contributions from a committee of organizers, a long list of local partners, a slate of great musicians and a stable of incredible and generous artists. Here's some of what went on...

Photo is of Gloria Attoun, the River Festival organizer AND musician with Augusta Bottoms Consort. You can purchase her incredible CDs here.


Downstream - an acoustic blend of guitar, fiddle, bass, percussion and harmony.  Folk, blues, traditional and original tunes.
Noon - World Bird Sanctuary
- "Birds in Flight" presentation.  Watch birds fly over-head as a naturalist shares interesting facts about the birds.
Augusta Bottoms Consort
- nature loving musicians with lots of different songs, instruments and harmonies.
Art Auction
- local artists presented their art for auction to benefit Missouri River Relief.  Art made out of trash from the river was also auctioned.
The River Rats
- a string band with acoustically driven roots music.
The Texas Giants
- vintage and country rock by musicians who are neither from Texas or are giant.
Bands Jam!
- all of the above bands had fun jamming together because they are all friends!

All Day - Old Time Music at the Tipi


Noon - 1 p.m. - Yoga on the lawn with Present Moment Yoga and Mindful Movement

1:30 p.m. - Botanical Walk with Bill Davit (meet at the entertainment area).  Learn how to make a whistle from willow and more with native plant expert, Bill Davit.

Educational Booths

Local environmental and river organizations, businesses, interactive educational displays and more. Check out the amazing list of presenters on the right!

Hands-on Art & Activities

Fun and educational activities for the whole family!

  • Festival goers will have an opportunity to create art out of recycled materials.
  • Transform invasive bush honeysuckle into fun furniture with artist and woodworker Dale Dufer
  • Experience hands-on application of earthen plaster to a straw bale wall with Silver Seed Farms.
  • Katy Trail miniature golf
  • Face Painting by Maria
  • "What the River Means to Me" student art display
  • "Rambling River Quilt", a beautiful collaboration between regional fiber artists will be on display.
  • Plus, lots of kid's activities to keep your toddler's smiling...

Art Auction and Trash to Art Exhibit 

The festival was overflowing with amazing art. A group of sculptors including Joey Los, Brian Watson, Lou Baczewski, Ryan Snider and more created on-the-spot sculptures from scrap and trash reclaimed from the river clean-up. 

Some of these pieces were added to an already large art auction including paintings, pottery and jewelry. Sculptress Joey Los led the auction and, with the generous bids of the audience, raised $3,300 to support Missouri River Relief!

Check out the long list of art donors on the right and see some of the beautiful pieces here. 

Augusta artist Brian Watson also brought his scale model Gibson guitar created from scrap reclaimed from the 1993 flood. Amazing!

River Education Events

We had two full days of river education at the Riverfront Park involving 7 different schools. 

With the help of the University of Missouri Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Unit, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mike Smith and Darren Dunkel of the City of Washington Parks and Rec. Dept., worked with elementary and middle school students to learn about Missouri River fish and wildlife, Missouri River history, the bounty of nature along the Riverfront Trail, the problem of trash in the Missouri River and the great park system that Washington has. The elementary students were also treated to a performance by the World Bird Sanctuary!

40 Washington Middle School students, led by teacher Michael Batsie, also hit the river to help with a river cleanup. They did a great job!

 Check out our 2015 Education Photo Album here.

Washington River Festival & Cleanup Results

Check out the amazing photos on Facebook and Flickr!

Check out our news coverage of the event:

Cleanup Results Snapshot

  • Volunteers signed in: 168
  • Boats: 5
  • River Miles Cleaned: 7 (MM64.3 - 71)
  • River Stage: 6.2 ft. on Washington Gauge
  • Landfill: 3.6 tons
  • Scrap Metal: 0.3 tons
  • Recyclables: 0.6 tons
  • Tires: 46 - 0.8 tons

Total Trash Tonnage: 5.3 tons!

Groups & Agencies Participating - Missouri River Relief Crew, Kohl’s, Walmart, Brentwood High School National Honor Society, Missouri Stream Teams 1, 211, 4660, 3419, 1875, Kayak Swarm, Washington University

Clean-up Team Names - River Dawgs, River Trolls, Swear Bear, Largemouth Bass, Crushers, Cobras, Mighty Unicorns, Pink River Dolphins, Morels, Trash Trolls, Unerstall Family

A Big Muddy Thank You To Our Event Sponsors:

Event Partners

Festival Highlights

Food by great local vendors!


Art donated by these wonderful local artists!

Educational Booths by these great organizations

River Festival Committee Members

  • Gloria Attoun Bauermeister
  • Mike Smith
  • Tony Carosella
  • Jenny Conner
  • Bryan Haynes
  • Cheryl Heggemann
  • Peggy King
  • Kate Kresse
  • Ryan Snidee
  • Michael Batsie
  • Brian Watson
  • Lou Baczewski

Clean Water = Good Beer

April 25 - The following weekend, come on back to the river front for the Mile Marker 68.3 Bierfest -- proceeds benefit Missouri River Relief!! 

Thanks to Augusta Brewing Co. for organizing this event!

Ready for Action?

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