The White River Festival: Celebration of an Ecosystem

Indianapolis wouldn’t be Indianapolis if it weren’t for the White River. The city was founded on the White River, and although it turned out not to be navigable, it’s still an important part of city’s history. The first half of September marks the fourth annual White River Festival at various venues across the state.

A Paddle boat corral and fountain on the Canal Walk

Tomorrow White River State Park will be alive with numerous activities for all ages for White River Community Fun Day. Festivities include a fun run along the canal, free pedal boat rides along the canal and appearances by the NapTown Roller Girls and soccer team Indy Eleven. The event is free and open to everyone. Festivities begin at 8 am and run through 2pm.

While tomorrow’s Community Fun Day may be the most visible day of the festival, activities are scheduled every day through September 14. Featured at Cool Creek Nature Center  in Hamilton County is an exhibit entitled: A River Runs Through Us. This free exhibit educates people about the importance of our watershed, as well as the wildlife that depends on it. It can be viewed daily during regular nature center hours.

On Thursday, September 11, Anderson University will host a free screening of the documentary Dam Nation. This film will examine how engineering has negatively impacted the environment, and how moving forward we as a country can be better environmental stewards.

Another view of the White River from the ARTSPARKOn Saturday, September 13, Family Fishing Day will take place at Riverside Park in Indianapolis. Sign in at the shelter next to Riverside Pond. Children 17 and under do not need a fishing license. The whole family can learn how to use a fishing pole, and how to handle a fish once it’s caught! Bait and tackle will be provided.

Also on Saturday, September 13, the 8th Annual Bat Festival will take place at IUPUI. The free event will teach people the importance of bats in our ecosystem, and explain their delicate relationship with the White River. Crafts and face painting will be available for children, and an assortment of presentations will be presented throughout the event.

The White River Festival is a celebration of an environment that is unique to central Indiana.  In addition to educational and fun events, communities will be hosting White River clean up days throughout September. Check your town’s website or the White River Festival website for more specific days and times for this important act of community service.