Thrifty Thurston Hits Up The Nisqually Watershed Festival



By Stacy Fisher

Olympia Auto Mall sponsorThe Nisqually Refuge is once again celebrating the change of the seasons and offering a chance for families to come in explore and celebrate the history and beauty of the park.  The 24th annual Nisqually Watershed Festival is free and planned for Saturday, September 28 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and is held at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.  In addition to the beauty of the area, the Watershed festival offers art displays, lecture series, walking tours, musical entertainment and great coffee and food options.

Entertainment for the Whole Family

nisqually watershed eventBe sure to bring your own t-shirt this year to the festival to make a fish print with a Nisqually salmon.  Additional arts activities will be part of the day-long celebration.  Speaking with Ashley Von Essen, from the Nisqually River Council, she mentions that there are “activities for the whole entire family.  There will be a ‘Build-a-Bughouse’ exhibit and some good acts on the main stage.  We have a reptile women who will show the kids all kinds of creatures and Brad Wood will bring raptors.”

“We are welcoming Wolf Camp for the first time.  We normally offers workshops for kids and they will be here to talk about some of the creatures in the upper watershed. They are brand new to us and we are really excited to have them,” she explains.

On the festival’s flyers you can check out the art work from this year’s poster contest winner, Edrick Weathers from Idlewood Elementary School.  Attendees will be able to stop by to see Edrick and the other winners claim their prizes at a Poster Contest Award Ceremony.

Celebrate the History

“Different representative from up and down the watershed will be here, encapsulating all the fabulous work and conservation efforts that are going on,” explains Von Essen.  The lecture series will include short 30 minute presentations on various watershed topics and issues.  Presentations will start at the top of each hour, from 11am to 3pm.  Some of the speakers this year include representatives from Cascadia Research and Northwest Trek, and Jim Ross discussing the first climbs on Mt Rainier.

Cross Your Fingers for Salmon

nisqually watershed festivalAt the festival there will be a variety of food vendors offering multi-ethnic cuisine, coffee stands, and a barbeque of hamburgers, brats and hopefully salmon.  The festival enjoys offering a salmon bake, but the choice to serve the fish depends on this year’s salmon crop.  “The fish are coming back in high numbers but they just started coming. So every year we get really close to the festival before we find out if we can offer a salmon bake,” explains Von Essen.

Annual Event

The Festival “aims to celebrate the history, culture and the resources of the watershed.  We bring together all kinds of different organizations, local, state and federal so everyone can get together and celebrate the beauty of the watershed,” comments Von Essen.  The Watershed Festival usually attracts 1,200 up to 2,000 attendees and is coordinated by Nisqually River Council and proudly sponsored by many local organizations.

Getting There 

nisqually watershed festivalOn the day of the event, there will be no parking at the refuge.  Based on the numbers of past attendees, the refuge is just not able to accommodate the traffic.  Instead attendees will be directed to park for free at River Ridge High School (320 River Ridge Dr SE, off Martin Way in Lacey).

There will be shuttles running from the school to the festival every 15 minutes.  The first shuttles will leave at 7:00 a.m. and the last shuttle will leave the refuge at 5:45 p.m.

For more information about this event, you can visit the Nisqually River Council website.

Nisqually Watershed Festival

Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

Saturday, September 28

10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.


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