Hudson River watchdog group Riverkeeper held its 17th Annual Shad Festival last Sunday, May 21, 2006 on the spectacular grounds of Boscobel in Garrison, NY. Despite harsh weather conditions early on, many people turned out for what ended up being a bright sunny afternoon filled with excellent music, lots of kids activities, and plenty of food and drink (view photo gallery).
The annual event is organized to celebrate the shad’s run up the Hudson River each spring from the Atlantic to spawn in their birth waters. The American shad is related to the herring and is native to the Eastern seaboard of the United States from New England to the mid-Atlantic.
At this year’s event, festival-goers were able to see and participate in many environmental exhibits and activities. Kids got to do all kinds of cool things from harnessed tree climbing to face painting to planting to boat and plane building to pony rides to a petting zoo and even a chance to be a giant Mardi Gras-style puppet. Throughout the day guests were treated to the excellent music of Uncle Wade, Dar Williams, and Black 47 while learning about the Hudson River and its ecosystem. After the music was over, the day concluded with a very dramatic birds of prey show - the birds all patiently waited for the weather to clear before performing.
Some first-hand celebrity sightings at the festival included tennis star John McEnroe, ex-NY Ranger Goalie Mike Richter, and Riverkeeper’s own Robert F. Kennedy Jr.; who gave a great talk, while presenting Riverkeeper’s annual Storm King Awards for citizen environmentalism, on Riverkeeper’s mission and the importance of preserving the Hudson for now and future generations.