The 8th annual Olentangy River Festival will return to Mingo Park from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11.
Previously called the NOW (Northern Olentangy Watershed) Festival, the name has been changed in hopes of bringing clarity to what the festival is all about as the City of Delaware aims to foster land and water stewards among its residents and provide natural resource education about the Olentangy Watershed.
Highlights of the festival include the rain barrel raffle, stream quality monitoring (creeking) for river critters, kayaking, fly fishing demos, kids crafts and activities, face painting, yard games, a dunk tank, bingo for large and small prizes, food trucks, and live music.
The festival is made possible with help from the 20-plus conservation organizations that participate and host the activities.
The schedule for the festival is as follows:
• 1 p.m. — festival and all activities begin
• 1-2 p.m. — litter cleanup
• 2 p.m. — conservation awards announced
• 4:30 p.m. — rain barrel raffle drawing
• 4:45 p.m. — Bingo card prize raffle drawing
• 5 p.m. — festival ends
Attendees planning to take part in water activities are encouraged to wear sturdy shoes that can get wet.
During the festival, everyone will have a chance to win a prize as there will be several small prizes available for completing a bingo card. Bingo cards have logos of the participating organizations, who will stamp the card after a participant visits their booth or does their activity. Participants who get five stamps across (or down or diagonal) get a small prize. Those who fill their entire board will get a small prize and a free entry for a larger raffle prize or rain barrel.
The Olentangy River Festival is hosted and organized by the City of Delaware and the Olentangy Watershed Alliance (OWA). All proceeds from the rain barrel raffle and other raffle items will go to OWA. The rain barrel raffle is the star of the show, as it showcases talents of local artists, repurposes barrels from the City of Delaware Water Treatment Plant, and allows residents to save and reuse their rainwater.
Participating organizations will have booths set up, many with kids crafts and games with conservation themes. Kayaking with ODNR will be led by a state park naturalist, who will take small groups out to float on the Olentangy and show them basic kayaking strokes. This is a great opportunity for families to get comfortable kayaking with a knowledgeable guide. The fly fishing demonstrations, led by Central Ohio Fly Fishers, will also be a great family activity that festivalgoers can participate in.
Stream Quality Monitoring is another highlight of the festival, hosted by ODNR’s Scenic Rivers program. They will show residents how to collect macroinvertebrates (insects, crayfish, snails, etc.) from the river, and share how those species tell us about the health of the river. This will give residents an inside glimpse at one of the ways the city monitors the well-being of the Olentangy.
Conservation awards will be presented to groups, businesses, and agricultural producers, to celebrate their conservation efforts within the Olentangy Watershed.
Information for this article was submitted by the City of Delaware.