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Baraboo Riverfest Will Celebrate River Revival

Baraboo Riverfest will celebrate river revival

A new Baraboo event set for Oct. 2 will celebrate two decades of river revival.

Baraboo Riverfest will take place at the Wise Pavilion inside the Maxwell-Potter Conservancy from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will feature a run on the Baraboo Riverwalk, a canoe regatta in the Baraboo River, demonstrations of fish shocking and water rescue techniques, and performances by local bands. Event organizers also will dedicate a new landing at Wise Pavilion.

Riverfest will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the last dams being removed from the Baraboo River. The waterway became the longest stretch of restored, free-flowing river in the U.S. Over the past two decades, water quality and fish habitat have improved, and recreational river use and eco-tourism have surged.

“Removal of the dams has resulted in incredible benefits,” said Joe Van Berkel, a retired Sauk County conservationist who’s heading up the event. “This anniversary is cause for celebration.”

A host of stakeholders are banding together to launch Riverfest, led by Friends of the Baraboo River. The Baraboo River Canoe Club will present a regatta, with the Kiwanis Club holding a run-walk on the Riverwalk. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will conduct demonstrations of fish shocking and sturgeon stocking, while the Sauk County Dive Team will demonstrate water rescues. The Baraboo Parks & Recreation Department will dedicate the new landing.

Food and beverages will be supplied by local nonprofit groups operating booths at the event. Organizations interested in participating should contact the Baraboo Area Chamber of Commerce at (608) 356-8333. Volunteers also are welcome.

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