Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Columbia County/N. Florida News

RiverFest 10th Anniversary Celebrates-Educates about the Santa Fe River & Environment

COLUMBIA COUNTY, N. FL – The RiverFest 2020 10th Anniversary celebration, hosted by Our Santa Fe River, begins on March 21 with the popular RiverFest plant hike and river walk, guided by Collette Jacono, PhD: botanist, plant ecologist, and defender of the environment.

The hike is along the Santa Fe River area which contains the largest numbers of tree and shrub species per unit area in the continental U.S. The canopy is so dense sunlight touches the ground only in the winter. The 1.5 mile hike along the river is March 21, 9 – 11 am at Gilchrist County Santa Fe River Park.

The hike is one of many RiverFest 2020 events sponsored by Our Santa Fe River, Inc.

On the walk, Dr. Jacono will share her specialization in aquatic and wetland plants. Participants will search for flowering herbs of early spring, learn the common and uncommon hardwood trees, and recognize the diversity of flowering shrubs that flourish in this fire-free habitat.

A $25 donation includes tickets to the March 29 Songwriters Contest and Auction. The River Walk is limited to 25 people.  Tickets are available at the Our Santa Fe River online shop.

Discover the River on the River

The day before the main event, the RiverFest Songwriting Contest and Auction, is the RiverFest Paddle and Spring Hop guided by master naturalist Lars Anderson of Adventure Outpost.

Participants will travel a nine-mile section of the Santa Fe River, Hwy 27 to Hwy 47, and float past the river’s most famous springs: Poe, Rum Island, Blue, Ginnie, Devil’s Ear & Eye, July and Myrtles Fissure.

Paddlers will pass swallets, which is where the river drains through underwater cracks into the aquifer.

A full time river guide, Lars Andersen will discuss the river’s unique geology, history, and lore of the area plants and animals.

The Saturday, March 28 River Paddle runs from 10 am to 3 pm and begins at the Highway 27 boat ramp on the Columbia-Alachua border.

A $50 donation includes a kayak, or you can bring your own, and shuttle trip. It also includes tickets to the March 29 Singer-Songwriters Contest and Auction. The River Paddle is limited to 25 people. To book a reservation, call: (386) 454-0611.


Daphne Webb is this year's RiverFest chairperson. For more information on RiverFest, sponsorship opportunities, or other ways to get involved, Ms. Webb can be reached at: (786) 897-2891 or e-mail: greenturtleweddingsandevents@gmail.com.

Rum 138, RiverFest host, is located at 2070 SW County Rd. 138, Fort White, FL 32038. Phone: (386) 454-4247.

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