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Annual Festival Celebrates the St. Mary's River
St. Mary's City, MD - 10/15/2012
By Dick Myers
The 8th Annual St. Mary’s RiverFest took place Saturday on the bluff near where Maryland’s first settlers landed on their voyage up the St. Mary’s River after a brief stop at St. Clement’s Island in the middle of the Potomac River. The bluff stands next to the reconstructed statehouse of 1676 and overlooks the reconstructed Dove, one of the two ships that carried those settlers in March of 1634 to their new home.
Perfect Southern Maryland Fall weather brought out crowds to enjoy demonstrations, music and special events all geared to celebrating the river and what it has meant to the area during its centuries of settlement since those settlers arrived.
As usual, one of the highlights of the day was the Bernie Fowler Wade-in, The former Maryland state senator and Calvert County commissioner, who has become an icon in the efforts to save the Bay and tributaries, started his wade-ins in the Patuxent River as a measure of the progress in the clean-up effort. His wade-ins have extended over the years to many other Chesapeake tributaries.
Before the wade-in of the St. Mary’s River, Fowler told a cautionary tale of progress mixed with some setbacks, including diseases affecting oysters and other seafood. Maryland Senator Roy Dyson added a dose of optimism, saying he recently talked to some watermen who said the oysters are coming back.
Entertainment for RiverFest included nationally-acclaimed folk duo Magpie (Greg Artzner and Terry Leonino), who not only performed a set dedicated to the St. Mary’s River and all tributaries, but also sang several songs with the Chesapeake Charter School Chorus.
Spring Ridge Middle School Rhythm Club also performed along with Indian Summer, Joseph Norris and Don Kenefick.
The day also featured face painting by Ming, kayaking and sailing, a paddle-in, and tours of the Dove.
The annual event is sponsored by the St. Mary’s River Watershed Association in cooperation with the site host, Historic St. Mary’s City.
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