Double the water to flow through Uncompahgre River at June 24 RiverFest

The most water in four years will flow through the Uncompahgre River during the 15th Annual Ridgway RiverFest on Saturday, June 24. This June’s flows, as measured below Ridgway, have been consistently twice the amount as in June 2022, which was more than in June 2021 and 2020. 

The large amount of water flowing through the Uncompahgre means the RiverFest’s river races will be faster than usual, a fun challenge for competitors, especially in the Junk of the Unc homemade river-craft race. Other race entrants on standup paddle boards, inflatable and hard shell kayaks, rafts, and canoes are expected to float easily to the finish line, compared to years when boulders and shallow water presented obstacles.

  The Ridgway RiverFest at Rollans Park, northeast of the bridge on Highway 62 in Ridgway, is a watershed celebration with free entertainment and education activities from noon to 5 p.m. Besides promoting awareness of watershed science and stewardship, the festival raises money for the nonprofit Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership (UWP) through sponsorships, beer and margarita sales, a large silent auction selection with buy-now options, and a rubber ducky race. The top sponsors in 2023 are Double RL Ranch, Alpine Bank, and Rocky Mountain Cannabis.

The rubber ducky race has been a highlight in recent low-flow years, but may not be possible this Saturday due to the high flows. Race organizers may also be prohibiting inner tubes in the competition due to this year’s flows, which are also very cold being so close to the snowmelt. People with questions about the rubber ducky race, inner tubes and other race details can email to get answers.

Other highlights this year include a performance of Newgrass and Celtic style music by The Last Spike from 3 to 5 p.m., jazz sax by Yasuo Ishikawa from 1:30 to 2:15 p.m., and the talents of 2023 RiverFest emcee Collin Sullivan, who has just completed his inaugural season as the new artistic director of theatre and storytelling at Weehawken Arts and the Sherbino Theatre. 

Festival goers can purchase locally brewed beers from Colorado Boy Pub & Brewery and margaritas mixed by El Agave Azul restaurant. Two food trucks, Blue Ribbon Barbecue and Martin’s Tacos, will offer great eats and a snow cone stand will please those looking for sweet treats.

The Ridgway RiverFest schedule, race information, silent auction item list, and other details can be found at More information about UWP and its work preserving and restoring the Upper Uncompahgre River Watershed and watershed science education programs is available at