Occoquan will come alive the first weekend of June with its RiverFest & Craft Show.
The weekend event that runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 3–4 features arts and crafts, live music in River Mill Park, a beer and wine garden, a river parade, kayak rentals, and more.
“There is truly something for everybody at this festival,” says Julie Little, events and community development director for the Town of Occoquan. “The event just brings so much excitement into the streets of the historic district with over 200 artisans, makers and creators as well as delicious food vendors, demonstrations and live concerts.”
Artisans this year will have fine art, jewelry, soap, candles, wood crafts, and ceramics.
“I just added a vendor today who makes hand painted fishing lures,” says Little. “We truly have a bit of everything. If you can think of it, we have it!”
Occoquan will shut down its streets for the free event, so plan to shuttle in for the fun. The shuttle will cost $8 per person round trip or two for $15. Kids 12 and under are free. You can purchase your shuttle passes in advance.
The spring craft show originally started out as Occoquan Days but changed to RiverFest last year.
Eating and Drinking There
This year’s event will have two food courts.
“The first will be as you first wander in, and you’ll be able to find popcorn and drinks, peanuts and sweet treats,” says Little. “And then as you make your way through the festival, you’ll find the other one with things like paninis, pizza, Greek, and Thai food.”
The food trucks and vendors will include Himalayan Soul Foods, Cousins Maine Lobster, and Karas Grill.
Occoquan is promoting the festival as a sip-and-stroll event. You will be able to pop into any participating restaurant, grab your favorite alcoholic beverage, and continue to walk around.
This year’s beer and wine garden will expand to feature two additional drink options from Water’s End, a Margarita Mist and River Mill Rum Punch.
The band, Up All Night, plays from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and the Ashleigh Chevalier Band takes the stage from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
What truly makes RiverFest special, Little says, is the emphasis on the Occoquan River itself and conservation efforts.
On both days, kids can take part in the Junior Passport Conservationist Program, which is designed to teach them how to conserve and protect the river. Children will have the opportunity to make crafts from recycled supplies. There will be a Saturday puppet show (tickets required), a chance to get up close with reptiles on Sunday (tickets required), a see-and-touch nature exhibit, and a tour of the Sea Dog, a 42-foot floating laboratory.
Decorating Your Boat
Something new this year is the Whatever Floats Your Boat parade that takes place at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
Those who enter the parade will decorate their rafts, canoes, inflatables, dinghies, kayaks, or rowboats and paddle a half-mile from Occoquan Regional Park to the judging area. Winners being chosen in the following categories: most creative, best eco-float, funniest, best overall, and business (sponsor). There will be a 2 p.m. awards ceremony.
People will be able to watch the parade from the dock Town Dock, Conservation Alley, or at the Ellicott footbridge.
The idea came about as a fun way to support the ecology and river’s water quality and wildlife. A portion of the registration fees will go toward Occoquan’s Million Mighty Mussel Project in partnership with Potomac RiverKeeper Network.
Feature image courtesy Occoquan government
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