The fourth annual Isle of Wight Riverfest event attracted well over 4,000 people.
A flotilla with vessels of all shapes, ages and sizes, proved to be very popular. The highlight of the day was the arrival of a tall ship from The Little Brig Sailing Trust, the ship was traditionally rigged with two masts, 10 sails, and one hundred ropes. The event was invaded by the notorious Wight Pirates! The 18th Century Pirate and Smuggler re-enactors.
The event hosted an array of local food, arts and crafts. The Isle of Wight Bacon Company provided catering and refreshments featuring local free range pork direct from their Godshill farm.
Local business Engenius explained rainwater-harvesting systems and small–scale renewable energy. Very fitting as the Quay was once the site of tide mill – a traditional source of renewable energy.
Medina Mariners Association members were on hand to show the popular Mirror Dinghy. This little boat has been around since 1962 and over 70,000 have been built. It is named after the Daily Mirror newspaper and was designed by Jack Holt and TV do-it-yourself expert Barry Bucknell. Boats trips were available on a variety of craft thanks to the involvement of local boating enthusiasts. The Classic Boat Museum had an impressive display of Olympic class boats on show with listings of all the medals won by GB competitors from 1896 to 2008. Other local community and water-based organisations included, Newport Rowing Club, Royal Naval Association and the Medway Queen Preservation Society
Maritime Volunteer Service provided communications for the event and professional marshalling. IW Events stewards, the Police and the Red Cross were also there to assist the public.
The IW Council’s Play Rangers organised play activities with a watery theme. The Medina Valley Centre’s Eco-Challenger was in attendance – giving children the opportunity of seeing the fascinating creatures that lurk in the depths of the River. The local Wildlife Trust staff talked to visitors about the Island’s important habitats and wildlife. The Trust also arranged children’s activities with a green and messy theme!
Gift to Nature provided activities with their pavement chalks and the never-ending doodle pad for children wanting to try out some river-inspired art; the Newport Rivers Group gave out information on Medina walks, along with Wessex Land and Water who explained everything you ever needed to know about river restoration.
Island anglers Dan Ross and Mike Hopwood, who set up wightfishing.co.uk to promote angling and protect fish in and around the Isle of Wight, meet hundreds of anglers and other interested local people- which helped promote the benefits of responsible fishing.
Southern Water’s ‘water café’ gave away cooling, refreshing drinks, useful freebies and lots of helpful information and advice on saving water.
This year’s event was supported by Newport Parish Council, Southern Water, Engenius, Odessa Boatyard, The Bargemans Rest and Natural Enterprise, as part of their Newport Rivers project to improve a prominent section of the Medina, funded by the SITA Trust’s Enhancing Nature programme.
“The Footprint Trust charity would like to thank for the help they receive from the Newport Harbour Master Wayne Pritchard and his staff. Free use of the public quay has been given by the Isle of Wight Council with support and help the Council’s Events Team.“
Said Ray Harrington-Vail of The Footprint Trust.
Riverfest 2012 will be on Saturday 19th May – subject to permissions being granted.