Riverfest 2012 latest news

Last May thousands of local people flocked to the Riverfest event on Newport’s historic Quay, making it the largest community event in the county town of the Isle of Wight. The fifth annual Riverfest is again to be organised by the Footprint Trust as a celebration of river and community life. There will be no admission charge and many children’s activities will be free. The date for your diaries is Saturday 19th May 2012 from 11am.

A flotilla with vessels of all shapes, ages and sizes, will once again prove to be popular. The highlight of the day will be the arrival of a tall ship from The Little Brig Sailing Trust, a charity that operates the world’s smallest tall ships to provide the complete sailing experience to young people. The ship will be traditionally rigged with two masts, 10 sails, and one hundred ropes. We have heard that the notorious Wight Pirates – early 18th Century Pirate and Smuggler re-enactors – will be capturing a tall ship and then invading Riverfest – so watch out!

Cowes Sailability Club will be sailing along to Riverfest 2012 in the vessels Dougal and Zebedee. The club was formed to promote and facilitate water sports for Island people with disabilities. They have acquired the sailing boats a Caledonia Yawl and a Drascombe Longboat. In April 2009 they were proud to commission Dougal, the motor vessel specially modified for wheelchair users and those with limited mobility. Their RIB Zebedee provides patrol and safety support their activities afloat.

Joining us this year will also be the Wolfguard Vikings –nice Vikings who raise money for local charities!

“Pedal n Paddle” is running a fun 2km Stand-Up Paddle Board race on the river starting from Town Quay. Competitors can hire boards or enter on their own board. Email info@pedalnpaddle.co.uk for entry information. Pedal n Paddle offer SUP lessons and hire in Gurnard and Colwell as well as running a ‘SUP Club’ which is a great way to keep fit and enjoy being on the water at the same time.

This year Riverfest will be working with the Isle of Wight Rural Community Council to host a ‘1200 Strong’ event, the largest celebration of volunteering ever seen on the Isle of Wight. From large national charities, to home-grown local ones, will be on hand to explain their work and to celebrate their successes and vision for the future.

For the first time live music will happening at Riverfest thanks to the Riverside Centre and Nice Productions.
There will be an array of local food, crafts and photography. Only fitting for a tidal river and a working quay that tasty cooked fish should be on offer. Corries Cabin, trading under the name of the Ginger Mullet, will be travelling to Riverfest with some new recipes for you to try, including crispy fried mackerel, salmon fillets, and local seasonal fish, all served on a bed of tasty salad and homemade tartar sauce. Traditional cakes, ice cream, preserves and sweets will be on sale including the popular Saint Valentines Liquorice. For those who want a healthy snack fresh fruit will also be on offer. Locally made occasional furniture will be on show along with t-shirts and paintings.

The Environment Agency will be attending this year’s event helping to raise awareness of the effects of drought on the environment. We will also have a stand demonstrating the impacts of non-native invasive plants with examples to view. Local business Engenius will be on hand to explain rainwater-harvesting systems. Shore Solutions plantsman Les Brown will be their advising on heritage plants that benefit wildlife, brighten up the garden and are drought tolerant.

Local community and voluntary groups along with water-based organisations will be present including; Cowes Sea Cadets, Medina Valley Centre, Cowes Sailability, Maritime Volunteer Service Medina Housing Association, People Matter, the Rural Community Council, YMCA, John’s Club, Love Russia, IW Foodbank, IW Society for the Blind, The Hampton Trust, Wight Squirel Project, Southern Housing Group, IW Community Fund, Natural Enterprise, and Gift To Nature. The Citizens Advice Bureau will be at Riverfest to offer help on a number of issues effecting people in the current economic climate.

At Riverfest you will have a chance to meet 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.

Traditional stalls will be at Riverfest 2012 alongside more modern attractions such as bucking bronco ride and a bouncy castle. Wightwells will have their popular side-show alongside their curious display of recycled garden collectables. We have the Junior Strikers ~ a test of strength for the youngsters –everyone is a winner. Ring the bell and get a prize – even if you don’t ring the bell we will still give you a prize!

The Medina Valley Centre’s Eco-Challenger will be on show – giving children the opportunity of seeing the fascinating creatures that lurk in the depths of the River. Estuary related fun for children of all ages will be on offer.

The Wildlife Trust and the Medina Valley Centre will be on hand to talk about the Island’s important habitats. The Trust is also arranging children’s activities with a green and messy theme!

The mobile police office will be on site with officers giving guidance on preventing crime.

Gift to Nature will also provide 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 will be on hand with information on Medina walks, along with the Environment Agency who can help explain everything you ever needed to know about the ongoing Newport river restoration.

Quay Arts begins its spring and summer season with a large-scale pier and bridge installation in The West Gallery by artists Tim Jonson and Chris Jenkins which encourages us to consider these man-made structures that connect us to the coast, sea and land. As part of Riverfest you can drop in and add to their Piers & Bridges installation in The West Gallery.

Visit the Southern Water ‘water café’ for a refreshing drink, useful freebies and lots of helpful information and advice on saving water.

Isle of Wight Events stewards will be guiding and assisting the public. The Police and Fire Service will also be in attendance.

More details will be made available nearer the time and will be published in the local media and on the web footprint-trust.co.uk. To find out more please contact Ray Harrington-Vail at the Footprint Trust on 01983 82-22-82 or email info@footprint-trust.co.uk

This year’s event is being supported by Newport Parish Council, the Environment Agency, Southern Water, Partnerships for Renewables, Engenuis 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.


Editors Notes…

The River Medina has a long history, and once carried goods into the New Port, which served the Island’s capital – Carisbrooke. Today the River and its banks are important habitats for rare and interesting wildlife and a place for recreation and leisure. The Riverfest will celebrate the heritage, community, businesses and wildlife associated with this historic river. Riverfest 2012 will be a fun family event focusing on the Medina. It is being organised by the Footprint Trust, a local educational charity.

The event aims to achieve the following;

· Raise awareness of the environmental and leisure benefits of the water environment

· Promote sustainable water use and conservation of wetland habitats

· To promote organisations and businesses with an interest in the River Medina

The arrival of a tall ship from The Little Brig Sailing Trust, a charity that operates the world’s smallest tall ships, will be at about 11.30am, depending on the tide.