The fifth annual Ypsi Fall River Day from noon-3 p.m. Sept. 22 will encourage local residents to enjoy one of Ypsilanti's most important natural resources.
"The event was started to provide free and low-cost family activities and programs along the (Huron River)," says Evan Sweet, chair of the Ypsilanti Parks and Recreation Commission, which hosts the event. "We wanted to engage families in outdoor programs in our city parks and get them to value and appreciate this great resource we have."
Most of the programming takes place at Ypsi's Riverside Park, with kayak trips launching from nearby Frog Island. Most of the programming is free, except for kayak rides being offered at a reduced rate of $10 for a single kayak or $15 for a two-person kayak. Organizers have also arranged for a shuttle to pick up kayakers at Ford Lake and bring them back to Riverside.
Free programming includes face painting, music, crafts, games, a bird of prey exhibit from Leslie Science and Nature Center, and an educational program on river wildlife hosted by the Huron Clinton Metroparks Mobile Learning Center.
Visitors can also talk with representatives from the Huron River Water Trail or visit the Ypsilanti District Library Bookmobile. A nature hike led by Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation employees will also include an update about the county's Border-to-Border trail and other upcoming county parks projects.
Sweet says the event has grown "exponentially" since its small beginnings five years ago. The 2018 event was the largest yet, attracting more than 400 attendees. The event sent about 60 kayaks downriver last year.
The event is made possible through funding and support from Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation, the city of Ypsilanti, Huron River Watershed Council, Maiz Mexican Cantina, Middle Huron Partners, Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation, the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner, and Ypsi Real. It will take place rain or shine, with no rain date scheduled.
"We encourage people to come out and enjoy the river and park with us, and take advantage of free and low-cost activities we have planned," Sweet says. "River trips tend to be popular, so the earlier you arrive the better if you want to get into a kayak."
More information about the 2019 Fall River Day is available at the city's website.
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She joined Concentrate as a news writer in early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to other Issue Media Group publications. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by Ryan Poling.