Beat the Heat by Wading in the Water at the Ridgway RiverFest, June 25

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As Colorado temperatures reach into the high 90s and beyond, everyone from toddlers to retirees can take refuge from the heat at the coolest place on the Western Slope this Saturday – the Ridgway RiverFest. Festival goers will be treated to fun activities from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the cool waters of the Uncompahgre River and on the river bank under canopies in Rollans Park, northeast of the bridge off of Highway 62.

For the ninth annual festival, the river races are expected to be the highlight once again. Watching at the start line in the park is a great time, and participating in the easy-going races is even more fun. While race winners get original, custom-made awards by local artists, the inflatables, hard kayaks and standup paddle board races focus more on the enjoyment of river sports rather than on competitiveness. The Junk of the Unc Race, on the other hand, attracts racers who are serious about proving that their homemade water-crafts are the most buoyant, and the audience has serious fun observing the creative contraptions and the spirited competition.

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Other highlights this year include live music by New Orleans blues guitarist and vocalist Kipori “Baby Wolf” Woods from 3 to 6 p.m., the Yogini Circus performing and training young audience members from Noon to 1:30 p.m., a cultural presentation by Ute historian Roland McCook, face painting, and a watershed education game with popsicle prizes for the kids. As always, the RiverFest will run a silent auction with great deals on river recreation and apparel plus outdoor adventures with local guides, books about the local area, restaurant certificates, and a variety of keepsakes and gifts. 

While enjoying all this entertainment, festival goers can cool down with locally brewed beers from Colorado Boy and Two Rascals breweries plus energetically crafted margaritas by “Glenda the Blenda’” cocktail-blending bicycle. Plus, Melry’s, 99 Thai Food and the Backstreet Bistro will provide a fine selection of festival food.

The annual river festival is organized by the Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership (UWP), a Ouray County nonprofit focused on protection and restoration of the Upper Uncompahgre River Watershed. UWP’s projects include mine remediation, environmental restoration, water monitoring, and various community outreach events.

The Ridgway RiverFest schedule, race information, silent auction item list and other details can be found at or by contacting or 970-325-3010.

Volunteers still needed. Please go to Volunteerspot to sign up for a two to three-hour shift:

Thank you to our generous Sponsors:




Sustainability Sponsors

BeP Earthwise Found. – Barbara Parish + Gary Roberts
CB Design
Double Shoe Cattle Company
Colorado River Water Conservation District
GUS Chocolate
Mountain Khakis
Potential Power Systems
Rocky Mountain Health Plans
Shavano Conservation District
The Great Outdoors – Montrose
Scott + Sheelagh Williams


Colorado Boy Brewery
2 Rascals Brewery

Friends of the River

Abigail Seaver, ND
Alternative Power Enterprises
Balance Natural Medicine
Bridger Construction
Dynamic Fire Protection Systems
Fishbone Graphics
Mountain Medical Center
Ouray Brewery
Ouray Mountain Sports
Re/Max – Randy Gregory
Sacred Water Consultants
San Juan Accounting
Shearwater, LLC

Silent Auction Donors