A greeting salmon

A greeting salmon

WEEKEND: Dungeness River Festival taking place all weekend

SEQUIM — All gathering at the river now: dancers, drummers, face painters, fish printers.

The Dungeness River Festival is a wild party — as in wildlife around a wild mountain stream — today through Sunday, and it is free for all ages at Railroad Bridge Park, 2151 W. Hendrickson Road just outside Sequim.

The festival itself is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. today and Saturday, while the Olympic Driftwood Sculptors are hosting an extension with their annual show, open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The park is home to the Dungeness River Audubon Center, the center of activities to range from a “Landscaping with Nature” class at 2:30 p.m. today to a Zumba dance-fitness class at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

The landscaping class, to be followed by a native-plant walk through the park, fits right into the festival theme of “let’s go green.”

But what does Zumba have to do with the Dungeness watershed?

Sue Chickman, a river center board member, responds that, like the rest of this weekend’s festivities, Zumba is simply about having a good time in the great outdoors.

“We’re celebrating good health,” she said, “and good experiences in the park. Zumba is fun, and it gets your heart racing.”

An array of certified Zumba instructors from Sequim will teach the free class. Participants may then want to wander over to the food vendors, who will offer fry bread, salmon burgers, ice cream and other festival treats in the river center courtyard.

Beside them is the Nature Corner, where carvers and other artists are giving demonstrations.

Meanwhile, since the Dungeness River is home to nine salmonid species, fish are a big presence.

Salmon People

There are the Salmon People, two-legged creatures wearing salmon suits; they will be greeting visitors and posing for pictures today and Saturday.

Another of the festival’s popular activities is the fish-printing, in which adults and children can make a fish impression on a piece of fabric. Would-be printers are urged to bring a pillowcase or T-shirt to the park.

New this year, and happening today only, is Dungeness River Center Director Powell Jones’ quick talks on local animals.

How it works: Jones, who’s worked at the river center for 10 years this month, will ask visitors what their favorite creatures are.

Then he’ll tell true stories about those animals, or at least as many as he can fit in.

People can throw any North Olympic Peninsula wild animal at him, figuratively speaking, and he will weave a tale about it.

“This isn’t a canned talk,” Jones said. “No two are alike.”

Jones will have these chats, called “fun fact tours,” each hour today.

Driftwood show

As for the Olympic Driftwood Sculptors art show, admission is free and cameras are welcome. Visitors also may buy raffle tickets for a chance to win a driftwood sculpture.

“The art is amazingly beautiful,” said Chickman, who has enjoyed the show in past years.

“People use their imaginations,” she added, to turn driftwood into works of art that also reflect nature’s touch.

Here’s a sampling of Dungeness River Festival activities:

Today

■   10:30 a.m.: The Sound Waves marimba band from Five Acre School performs.

■   11 a.m.: Bob Boekelheide, master of bird calls and other natural knowledge, leads a river walk.

■   2:30 p.m.: A “Landscaping with Nature” class is led by Joe Holtrop of the Clallam Conservation District.

Saturday

■   10 a.m.: The Jamestown S’Klallam Drummers & Dancers open Day 2 of the festival.

■   10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: The Olympic Driftwood Sculptors art show is open inside the Dungeness River Audubon Center.

■   11 a.m.: The Olympic Mountain Cloggers perform.

■   12:30 p.m.: Local Zumba instructors lead a class for all ages.

■   2 p.m.: Ken Wiersema gives a talk on the construction of Railroad Bridge.

■   2:30 p.m.: A drum circle opens to all players.

■   All day today and Saturday: “Fun Fact tours” of the natural world with Powell Jones, Dungeness River Audubon Center director, and “Animal Olympics” circuit walks, which take participants to exercise stations around Railroad Bridge Park.

Sunday

■   10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: The Olympic Driftwood Sculptors art show is open inside the Dungeness River Audubon Center.

To find out more about the driftwood artists’ organization, phone 360-681-2535 or visit www.OlympicDriftwoodSculptors.org.

More information about the Dungeness River Festival and other activities at Railroad Bridge Park is at www.DungenessRiverCenter.org and 360-681-4076.

________

Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

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