Summer may be over, but a longtime family event here is gearing up to have one of its best years yet.
The 36th Annual Raritan River Festival will take place from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, September 25 in Boyd Park.
The festival will return with a roster of popular activities, including cardboard canoe races, water taxi rides, games, arts and crafts, vendors, live music and environmental activities intended to celebrate the history and significance of the Raritan River.
New offerings this year include a little local competition in the cardboard canoe races as half a dozen local restaurants have already signed up to build and race canoes against each other for a chance to win a trophy and bragging rights over their peers.
Local band “The VooDUDES” will headline the festival as part of an all-day roster of local music and performance groups across three stages, a lineup that has something for everyone.
“Duckland” will offer kids a unique slew of fun activities in which they may participate with their families, including coloring, games, face painting and more. Other kids’ activities include pony rides, outdoor art activities and group demonstrations in dance, yoga, self-defense and drumming.
Food vendors will offer a variety of tasty treats and a beer and sangria garden hosted by Harvest Moon and Gambino’s will offer participants libations to sample while enjoying a day on the banks of the scenic and historic Raritan River.
And as always, a wave of yellow will “hatch” into the Raritan River during the annual Rubber Duck Race, with winners posed to take home prizes of a $1,000 American Express gift card, a set of his and her Fit Bits and a $250 American Express gift card.
The Rubber Duck Race is conducted to benefit the efforts of the Beez Foundation, a charitable organization that raises money and public awareness to fight pediatric brain cancer. Individuals or groups can “adopt” a rubber duck for $5 or a Flock of Ducks, five in all, for $20. Rubber ducks can be adopted by visiting the Beez Foundation website at www.beezfoundation.org.
The festival is free to everyone and strives to combine community entertainment and celebration with environmental awareness for the Raritan River. It has been held annually since 1980 and has received the “Local Legacy” Award by the United States Library of Congress.
Free parking is available at the nearby Rutgers University Public Safety Building Deck, located at the intersection of Neilson Street and Elijah’s Way.
For further information on the festival, including a roster of the day’s events and activities, visit www.raritanriverfestival.net. Follow the festival on Facebook and Twitter via the hashtag #JustDuckingAround.