Volunteers needed for festival celebrating the Uncompahgre River Watershed

Ridgway RiverFest volunteers readily admit they donate their time because the festival celebrating the Uncompahgre River is a fun place to hang with friends. Their main reason for volunteering at the annual event is to support the nonprofit Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership (UWP), but it doesn’t hurt that they get to enjoy live music, river races, and an afternoon full of festive activities.

“We enjoy volunteering at RiverFest as a way to meet new people in the Ridgway/Ouray area. Being fairly new to Ridgway, we’ve not only enjoyed meeting the locals but also giving back to support one of the most important resources in the area, the Uncompahgre River,” explained Russell and Vangela Cosby, who volunteered in 2021 and 2022 and have already signed up for this June.

This year, volunteers get a free RiverFest hat instead of the usual shirt. Actually they can choose which they want but hats in two different color combinations were ordered for the first time (and shirt sizes are limited this year). Fishbone Graphics, a festival sponsor with a production facility in Ridgway, silkscreens the festival logos on the hats.

Forty to 50 volunteers are required to produce the free community festival at Rollans Park, scheduled for Saturday, June 24, noon to 5 p.m. Face painting, solar oven cookie baking, rubber ducky capturing, and river race filming are some of the most creative volunteer shifts available.

By producing the festival mostly with volunteers, UWP is able to both raise more funds to support watershed preservation activities and keep the event free to festivalgoers. The 15th annual festival will include The Last Spike performing a mixture of original acoustic folk, bluegrass, and Celtic-type music, watershed education, river races including the homemade boat competition called Junk of the Unc, a Ute cultural presentation, and a silent auction. Plus food trucks, a beer and margarita stand, and a snow cone maker sell refreshments.

Vangela said she enjoys working the margarita and beer station because everyone shows up with a smile on their face. 

Most volunteers shifts are three to four hours but a few are shorter like setup and takedown. Other volunteer assignments include watershed education, race and volunteer registration, beer and margarita sales, silent auction monitoring, and photography. Volunteers from 14 to 104 years old are welcome. Each volunteer receives a festival hat and drink ticket as a thank you. People can sign up  online at https://signup.com/go/qeGPzXM, or send questions to tanya@uncompahgrewatershed.org.

More information about UWP is at https://www.uncompahgrewatershed.org/, and the festival is at https://ridgwayriverfest.org/. A few more sponsorships are available until May 31, and those interested can email pamela@uncompahgrewatershed.org.