Celebrate Riverfest, and Sunday’s Summer Solstice


Compiled by The Bedford Citizen

Riverfest 15 will raise awareness of water quality/quantity issues, protect natural habitats, manage invasive species, and celebrate local rivers this weekend. The Concord River forms one of Bedford’s borders, and is one of six designated Wild and Scenic Rivers in Massachusetts.

Click here to learn about Riverfest’s plethora of Saturday activities, but read on to learn about Sunday’s Solstice activities that offer opportunities to celebrate in style, from sunrise to sundown.

The day begins with a sunrise canoe/kayak paddle departing at 5:3o am from Bedford’s boat landing (where Carlisle Road crosses the Concord River). Click here for a Concord River Trail map, and here for the Commentary Guide. to learn about the landmarks along the trail.

Sunday’s festivities end with a sunset Solstice concert at North Bridge and a bonfire at the Old Manse.

Sunrise Birding Canoe/Kayak Paddle from the Bedford Boat Landing

Join wildlife specialist Ken Harte for a sunrise birding paddle along the Carlisle section of the Concord River and the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Bring your canoe or kayak, life jacket (required), weather-appropriate clothing for a 2 to 3-hour paddle, binoculars, money for breakfast, drinking water, and nature guidebooks for identifying river-edge birds, plants, insects. Meet to sign in at 5:15 am at the Bedford Boat Landing on Rte. 225 at the Carlisle/Bedford town line. Launch time is 5:30 am. A stop is scheduled half-way through the trip at a casual riverside restaurant for breakfast and to compare notes. An optional stop at the recently protected Elliott Concord River Preserve will be near the end of the trip. Cancelled in the case of inclement weather or flood conditions. For more information, call the Carlisle Conservation Commission at 978-369-0336.

Sunday Activities at Concord’s Old Manse

Come to the riverbank by foot or paddle, bring a picnic, and enjoy music and art at the Old Manse (269 Monument Street). For boat rentals contact South Bridge Boat House at 978-369-9438.

  • Plein Air Painting Class: Art instructor Cecilia Sharma’s free 2-hour outdoors watercolor workshop with demonstration and personal instruction. Students will explore watercolor landscape painting through natural light in an outdoor setting. For all levels, some experience in drawing and painting helpful but not required. Email sheilnex@gmail.com for material list. 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
  • Come join us in launching “The New World Drama: And Crown Thy Good with Sister- and Brotherhood.” Scenes for the drama are being written by fellow citizens in communities across our land. Bring your own verse, song, legend, tale, your inspirations, which offer a Concord, Middlesex County, or Massachusetts perspective on the aspiring promise of sister- and brotherhood — from sea to shining sea. For a further glimpse visit www.concordium.us/initiatives/new-world-drama. Noon – 1:30 pm
  • Free Paddling and Quest: Paddle from the North Bridge to Egg Rock on the Concord River in search of clues and stickers. 1-hour free canoe rental available on a first-come-first-served basis. Meet us at the river bank behind the Old Manse. This is a family-friendly event. To reserve a boat in advance, contact OARS at 978-369-3956 or office@oars3rivers.org by Friday, June 19.   11 am – 2 pm
  • Be Creative, Build Art: Join Musketaquid Artists for a spontaneous sculptural installation on the banks of the Concord River. 11:30 am – 2 pm
  • Create Your Own Fish and Turtles: Join OARS to turn recycled soda bottles into colorful fish and turn bowls into turtles. Younger children can create their own watersticks. Visit www.oars3rivers.org for details. 11:30 am – 2 pm
  • Riverside Dixieland Jazz: Come hear the Dixieland music of the Silver Leaf Jazz Band as they float down the river with a stop at the Old Manse.  12 – 2 pm
  • Concert: A free concert on the Old Manse lawn featuring Lloyd Thayer. Lloyd puts the ‘multi’ in multi-insturmentalist, playing a mind-boggling assortment of stringed instruments including: Dobro and Weissenborn lap steel guitars, Turkish Oud, Sax and Cumbus, Indian Chaturangui and Mohan Veena, Ragmakamtar, Ukelele and more. 2 – 4 pm

Celebrate the Summer Solstice at the Old Manse and North Bridge

End Riverfest by celebrating the arrival of summer on the rivers with OARS and Musketaquid at the Old Manse (269 Monument Street).

  • Music: Snow Crow will entertain those who wish to picnic on the beautiful grounds of the Old Manse, on the shores of the Concord River. 6:30 pm
  • Illuminated Flotilla with Voices of the Earth Chorus:  Launch your canoe, rowboat, or kayak for a paddle on the Concord River. Bring along a candle lantern (instructions for making lantern) that you can attach to your boat. Boat rentals available from the South Bridge Boat House. Boats put-in and take-out at the Old Manse or Lowell Road bridge. For those who want to participate without getting wet, the best viewing spot is from the Old North Bridge. 8 pm
  • Solstice Bonfire: Join the bonfire at the Old Manse. 8 pm

Then, it’s finally and officially summer!


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