Sept. 27 festival a celebration of Nisqually watershed

The 25th annual Nisqually Watershed Festival will offer a mix of education, entertainment and celebration of the restoration work within the 517-square-mile watershed when it takes places Saturday.

The free, daylong event will feature art, discovery activities, music and family fun.

“For decades the Nisqually watershed community has served as a role model of cooperative conservation,” Justin Hall, executive director of the Nisqually River Foundation, said in a news release. “Beginning with protecting the river’s mouth from development in the 1970s to coming together in recent years to restore an endangered chinook stock, the people of the Nisqually watershed have shown how we can work together for the environment.”

There are multiple habitat- and stream-restoration projects underway along the 78-mile river and its tributaries.

“Watershed communities have been working hard to protect and restore this unique place for years,” Hall added. “The festival has served as a showcase for what makes the Nisqually special, it’s where we all come together to celebrate what we have accomplished.”

This year’s event schedule offers a chance to explore FIN the Migrating Salmon, a 25-foot-long replica, plus walking tours and a salmon barbecue from She Nah Num Seafoods.

The main-stage schedule includes live raptor and reptile shows and music from the Nisqually Canoe Family. A number of local acts will perform at the refuge amphitheater.

In addition to entertainment, there also will be educational displays. A number of organizations that work in the Nisqually watershed will be at the festival, with activities and interactive workshops. The workshops will include insect identification, NatureMapping and salmon dissection.

Attendees can bring their own T-shirts or use paper to make a Nisqually salmon print, learn about the life cycle of salmon by making key chains or get their faces painted.

The event will run from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, 100 Brown Farm Road NE, Olympia. From Interstate 5, take exit 114.

Because space is limited at the refuge, free parking and shuttle rides to the festival will be available at River Ridge High School, 350 River Ridge Drive, Lacey.