RIVERFest invites public to kick off Lafayette River Restoration

April 28, 2011
Lafayette River RIVERFest

Lafayette River RIVERFest

The public will have the chance to celebrate a new plan to bring back the Lafayette River – and learn fun, easy ways to help at home – during Lafayette RiverFest, a free, day-long festival with live music, fishing contests, free boat trips, children’s games, how-to workshops, river art, education vessels and more.

The event will be Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at a first-ever location for a large family festival – the 500 block of Mayflower Road, a semi-circle of public riverfront in the heart of Norfolk’s Colonial Place residential neighborhood.
“We wanted to bring this festival to the people who know the Lafayette as their home river,” said Elizabeth River Project’s Executive Director Marjorie Mayfield Jackson. The Elizabeth River Project is presenting the festival with the City of Norfolk, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and more than a dozen other community partners.
With 24 tents’ worth of hands-on activities, free bike “valet parking” and satellite locations for the fishing tournament (Haven Creek boat launch) and canoe, kayak and stand-up paddle races (Lakewood Park), the bustling day will showcase a restoration plan to be presented by community partners on April 27 to make the Lafayette branch of the Elizabeth safe again for swimming and eating oysters by 2014.
Fleta Jackson of the City of Norfolk serves as event chairperson. “I’m especially excited about the childrens’ activities that we have lined up – everything from a Scoop the Poop relay race to dog parades and children’s ecoart,” said Jackson.
Christy Everett, Hampton Roads director for Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said her organization will be on hand to offer free canoe trips and workboat trips to demonstrate the come-back already underway for the Norfolk oyster, through means such as innovative “reef balls” that the foundation began using on the Lafayette last year. “It’s very encouraging to see the amazing results so far,” Everett said.
Both the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Elizabeth River Project will dock signature environmental education vessels at the festival site.
The Elizabeth River Project’s Learning Barge – 120′ by 32′ – arrives late this week to dock on the Lafayette branch of the Elizabeth for the first time, and will remain docked there through June for student field trips.
Elizabeth River Project also will debut a new program at the festival, River Star Homes. Patterned after Elizabeth River Project’s successful River Star Businesses and River Star Schools programs, River Star Homes will recognize citizens with free yard flags when they agree to simple practices at home that help restore the river.

Lafayette RiverFest activities include:

Music (main festival site)

10 a.m.        The Delvers

Noon            Julie Clark

2:30              Zen Monkeys

Fishing (Haven Creek) with Tidewater Kayak Anglers Association

6:30 a.m.–noon             Catch and Release Tournament ($15)

Costumed Dog Parades (main festival site) Norfolk SPCA & Animal Management (River-related costumes)

11:30 a.m-noon

2-2:30 p.m.

Paddle Races (Lakewood Park) with Mid-Atlantic Paddlers Association

Advanced division – 6 miles

Recreational division — 1.5 miles

9 a.m. registration ($15)

Rain Barrel Workshop (main festival site) with Mike’s Rain Barrels

10:30-11:30 a.m. ($55, includes rain barrel)

Limited Space — Pre-registration required by calling 441.1347

Free on the Water

All Day — Learning Barge ERP (main festival site)

11 a.m. and 2 p.m. – Canoe Trips (main festival site) CBF

2  p.m. – CBF education vessel Bea Hayman Clark (main festival site)

Pre-registration required for CBF trips online at rsvp@cbf.org or 622-1964

1 p.m. – Kayak Tours (Haven Creek) City of Norfolk

Other Events

 Scoop-the-Poop Relay Race

 Original River Art for Sale (local artists)

 Green Gardening Education (Hermitage Museum and Gardens and partners)

 Build a Buoy (NOAA)

 My Flush Counts (HRSD)

 Booksigning with Mike D’Orso

Co-author with Ted Danson of OCEANA: Our Endangered Oceans and What We can Do To Save Them

 Children’s Art & Games

 Fresh Local Fare

The rain date is Sun., May 1, 12 – 4 pm. Full information: www.elizabethriver.org.


RIVERFest, a celebration of the Lafayette River is planned

September 24, 2010
Lafayette River RIVERFest

Lafayette River RIVERFest

Over a year ago, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Elizabeth River Project brought together a multidisciplinary group of public and private experts plus citizens to start talking about how to help the Lafayette River.  This Steering Group developed a watershed plan with three main parts:  a swimmable, fishable Lafayette; a healthy river life; and citizens making a difference.   The draft Lafayette River Watershed Plan is being reviewed and hopefully will be endorsed by the Norfolk City Council within the next few weeks.   The strategic goal is a swimmable, fishable Lafayette River by 2014.

Planning is underway for a one day celebration of the Lafayette River – RIVERFest on the Lafayette on Saturday 30 April 2011 (rain date 1 May 2011).  Hopefully this first celebration in the spring will evolve into an annual River appreciation day.   Think block party with food, music, arts, the Elizabeth River Project’s Learning Barge, education tables and activity tents.  The Steering Group has met with Colonial Place neighborhood residents and their Civic League and they support the plan.  The location will be the 500 block of Mayflower Road – a prime location along the Lafayette River.  They will begin working with the City of Norfolk for permits and permission to temporarily close that block on 30 April 2011.

The plan is to ask school choirs and local musicians to volunteer their time and talent.  Also we are asking for local artists (photographers, painters, sculptors, potters, etc.) to display their pieces.  More information will be forthcoming throughout the fall, winter and spring. Currently the Elizabeth River Project has basic RIVERFest information on their website www.elizabethriver.org under events.

They are working hard to create a unique way to celebrate and appreciate the Lafayette River.   If any civic league would like a presentation regarding these Lafayette River efforts, feel free to contact Amry Cox at 969-3461.

A flyer for the April 31, 2011 event can be found here.

%d bloggers like this: