Clean water and history celebrated at St. Mary's RiverFest

HISTORIC ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. -- The weather was perfect for a quick wade in the St. Mary’s River at 12th annual RiverFest on Sept. 24.

Hosted by the St. Mary’s River Watershed Association in Historic St. Mary’s City, former state senator Bernie Fowler and a mass of children and other community members waded into the river to perform the ‘sneaker index.’ Waders were advised to go as deep into the water as long as they could see their white sneakers, but many went barefoot, in water shoes, or in green waders.

Sen. Fowler started coming to RiverFest about eight years ago, said Joe Anderson, president of St. Mary’s River Watershed Association.

“The water here at St. Mary’s River is getting better, and I have to give the organization here a lot of credit for doing things they ought to be doing and planting oysters, just doing lots of things that has the river’s water quality headed in the right direction,” said Fowler.

As far as the Chesapeake Bay water quality is concerned, Fowler said the watershed groups have a long way to go to improve.

“The oysters have picked up, and crabs are abundant this year and so there is a bright side, but there is quite a bit to be done to get the water back on track,” said Fowler.

Seeing the senator at the RiverFest events is one of the highlights of the event, said Anderson.

“I’ve been to every single one of these RiverFests and my favorite part is the musical performances and the wade-in, of course,” said Anderson.

With plenty of food and drink vendors to choose from, event goers could also check out Historic St. Mary’s City with the Milita Muster Camp Activities, which included a recreated living history encampment with 17th century re-enactors from the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond. A Pokémon GO Tour was also hosted with a light history lessons on the various battles that took place in Maryland.

For more information, check out the website and a previous article.

Contact Jacqui Atkielski at 

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