More than 20 years ago,
Riverfest started as a simple idea:
get Waynesboro residents excited
by the South River again.
By the mid-90’s, many residents saw the South River as not much more than a polluted, flood-prone nuisance; a proposal to modify the river was under consideration. While the proposal was meant to alleviate flooding concerns, the plan had serious ecological consequences.
Riverfest was founded in 1997 to educate the community about the recreational, educational, and esthetic value of the South River. Throughout the years, the downtown event has grown to be one of the largest festivals in Waynesboro as more programs, activities, exhibits are added — all of which challenge people of all ages to protect the environment and our own South River.
The South River has seen many exciting changes and developments since that first year: the City of Waynesboro built a greenway along the river, Trout Unlimited and the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries have established a destination trout fishery (with signs of natural reproduction occurring), and DuPont is actively remediating legacy contamination along the river.
The residents of Waynesboro and the surrounding area have fully embraced the importance and value of this wonderful natural resource.
Did You Know?
- The first duck race started at Wayne Ave. and was supposed to end at the Main St. Bridge, however the ducks never made it! They all got caught in the eddies, rocks and trees along the river. Volunteers had to wade up the river and gather all the trapped duckies.
- Riverfest is run by an all volunteer board. There are no paid positions.
- The Riverfest event costs about $15,000 a year, which is funded through donations, grants, and duck sales.
- Roughly 2,000 people attend Riverfest every year. It cost approximately $7 a person to pay for Riverfest.
- More than 11,000 ducks have been sold since the first duck race.
- Riverfest has always been — and will always be — a free event!