Kyra Cartwright of Sequim watches as Smokey Bear looks at a string of beads Kyra created at an activity booth set up by the Olympic Driftwood Sculptors group at the annual Dungeness River Festival in 2013 at Railroad Bridge Park near Sequim. The event featured a variety of exhibits and activities geared around nature

Kyra Cartwright of Sequim watches as Smokey Bear looks at a string of beads Kyra created at an activity booth set up by the Olympic Driftwood Sculptors group at the annual Dungeness River Festival in 2013 at Railroad Bridge Park near Sequim. The event featured a variety of exhibits and activities geared around nature

WEEKEND: Dungeness River Festival to celebrate the wild today, Saturday

NOTE: “Today” and “tonight” refer to Friday, Sept. 26.

SEQUIM –– The wild things are in the river.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, this weekend’s 15th edition of the Dungeness River Festival focuses on the wilderness that surrounds the waterway that made the Dungeness Valley.

The Dungeness River Audubon Center is the annual venue for September’s River Festival as staff and volunteers throw a party for the 28-mile river when it is swimming with salmon, a dazzling display of wildlife.

Events run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and Saturday.

“River festival activities and exhibits bring people of all ages together to celebrate the wonders and diversity of our natural and cultural resources,” said Powell Jones, executive director of the Audubon center.

A special display of student art centered around the question “What is wilderness?” will decorate the center in Railroad Bridge Park at 2151 W. Hendrickson Road.

The U.S. Forest Service is co-sponsoring this year’s river festival with First Federal.

Railroad history

One particular focus of this year’s festival is the decommissioned railroad bridge that makes up the center of the river center.

Built in 1915 by the Milkwaukee, St. Paul & Chicago Railroad, the bridge has gone from carrying trains loaded with logs and produce from the lush valley to its modern use by bikers, walkers and joggers who use it every day to span the river.

Ken Wiersema will lecture on the bridge’s construction 99 years ago at 2 p.m. Saturday when he leads a walk on its deck.

To throw back to the original purpose of the bridge, railroader Steve Hauff will lead a discussion on trains around the world from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Packed weekend

The Olympic Driftwood Sculptors’ sixth anniversary art show will overlap the festival at the center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The Animal Olympics will run throughout the festival, allowing celebrants to hop like frogs, run like elk and imitate many of the animals that call the river home.

Aspire Dance and Music Academy students will show off their hip-hop, ballet and jazz-dancing skills along with their special Splinter Project at 1 p.m. Saturday.

For more, phone 360-681-4076 or visit www.DungenessRiverCenter.org.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

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