Alosa sapidissima (American shad)
Celebrate spring and the return of the shad to their Hudson River home with music, food, crafts, children’s entertainment, boating demonstrations and much more during the 18th annual Riverlovers Shadfest, Sunday, May 18, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Croton Point Park in Croton-on-Hudson.
The festival marks the traditional return of the shad to spawn in the river between Kingston and Albany. Sponsored by Westchester County Parks and Riverlovers Inc., the Shadfest is presented in cooperation with the Hudson River Foundation, the Beacon Sloop Club, and Ferry Sloops Inc.
The festival features music, food, including fresh shad dinners, along with hamburgers, hot dogs and corn on the cob, and tasty vegetarian chili. There will also be environmental exhibits, information booths, craft vendors, Native-American craft demonstrations and a variety of children’s entertainment.
Hudson River Foundation educator Chrisopher Letts will cook shad over hot coals and will serve free samples. At 2 p.m. Hudson River fisherman and educator Tom Lake will discuss the shad’s life cycle and other Hudson River lore.
Musical entertainment for the day begins with Gillen and Turk, followed by the Walkabout Clearwater Chorus at 1:30 p.m., a local group founded by music legend Pete Seeger and dedicated to spreading an environmental message takes the stage. At 3:30 p.m., Lightning Screamed from Gertrude, will close the festival as they bring to life the rock of the ’60s and ’70s.
At 2:30 p.m., everyone can enjoy the antics of the larger-than-life puppets of the Arm-of-the-Sea Theater, in an all-new performance. The troupe combines the symbolic visual language of mask and puppet theater with a musical menagerie of horns, bells, drums, shells, flutes and whistles.
Children can also learn more about the natural world by playing games presented by the Beczak Environmental Center. Kids can try their hand at flying a kite by the river, or watch a canoe and kayak demonstration.
For boat lovers, a fleet of 25-foot Whitehall gigs from “Floating the Apple” will be on display. The gig is a boat design that dates back to the 1700s.
Admission to Shadfest, which will be held rain or shine, is free. Parking is $4 with a County Park Pass and $8 without the pass.
Vendors are welcome and may call Riverlovers at 914-432-3112 or visit their website for more information. For general information on the event, call the Westchester County Parks Department at 914-864-7000 or visit their website.