The annual RiverFest celebration is on July 16-21 in Hudson, with many activities to encourage everyone to get out and enjoy the St. Croix River while also recognizing the need to preserve its health and beauty.

The river cleanup is a core activity and the "purpose" behind RiverFest. Volunteers are welcome to join the effort at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 16, at Lakefront Park. Community volunteers get out on the river bank, collect trash, and work to help keep the St. Croix River clean. RiverFest will host a picnic lunch for the volunteers at Picnic Point (the south end of Lakefront Park) and Carpenter Nature Center will present Animals of the St. Croix Valley.

The trash collected during the cleanup is used by students from The Phipps' "Just Add Water" class to create a new "skin" for the Scrappy sculpture, the RiverFest mascot. Scrappy will debut his new trashy "skin" at the Thursday evening band concert.

This year we have two pre-events - starting on Thursday, July 11 with "The State of the St. Croix River" community forum at the Hudson Area Library at 6:30 p.m. This is free and open to the public and features guest speakers Michael Mroz and Jim Almendinger.

Another pre-event is the Native American Day at Family Fresh Market 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 13, with samplings of Native inspired foods and free recipes. Stop by the RiverFest table to pick up a RiverFest schedule and tickets will be available for purchase for the Woodland Echoes program on July 20, featuring Native American food tastings followed by a performance by Woodland Sky Native American Dance Company.

Many popular events will be returning for RiverFest, such as the Toonies ENVIRO-FUN puppet show 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Hudson Bandshell. Learn about the many ways to reduce the amount of trash we generate. This program is presented courtesy of the city of Hudson.

Several other RiverFest activities are scheduled during this six-day event, including an evening Prairie Nature Hike on Wednesday, July 17; the St. Croix Valley Community Band Concert on Thursday, July 18; the RiverFest Nature Boat Cruise on Friday, July 19; the Kids Fishing Derby and the Native American Celebration on Saturday, July 20; and the Civil War Encampment and Ice Cream Social at the Octagon House Museum and the Hudson Inclusion Alliance's Longer Table community potluck lunch on Sunday, July 21.

RiverFest is made possible through the generous support of local sponsors and by numerous partner organizations and volunteers. A list of partners and sponsors, as well as a complete schedule of events, is available at StCroixRiverFest.org or look for us on Facebook at Hudson St. Croix RiverFest.