Different surroundings, easier parking: Riverfest prepares to open two-day run

Boyd Park will serve as southern anchor of this year's festival

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
  • Riverfest runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
  • Admission is free, although some activities do cost money.
  • Visit or see the schedule.

FARMINGTON — Many of the surroundings for this year’s Riverfest will be different when it opens its two-day run on Saturday, May 27, but in most ways, the festival still will have a familiar feel to it.

D’Ann Waters, president of the River Reach Foundation, the nonprofit organization that presents the festival, said plans for the event were proceeding smoothly after the foundation board voted last week to move many of the events from its traditional home in Animas Park to Boyd Park farther south along the Animas River because of anticipated high water.

“So far, so good,” Waters said Thursday. “We’ve had a few little glitches, but nothing that can’t be taken care of.”

Riverfest officials decided to move all the events planned for Cottonwood Landing, Archway Court, Berg Park East and Rocky Reach Landing to other sites, most notably Boyd Park, which will serve as one of the two anchor locations for the festival, along with River Reach Terrace. That decision was made because of the unusually brisk flow of water in the Animas River and the possibility of flooding brought on by the melting of an exceptionally large snowpack in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado.

Waters said the biggest disappointment to result from that is the cancellation of annual Duck Race fundraiser, one of the festival’s more popular events, which traditionally takes place in Willet Ditch adjacent to Rocky Reach Landing. The high water made it impossible to have a race in the ditch this year, so Waters said Riverfest officials have decided to conduct a drawing this year for the winning tickets.

City of Farmington workers erect a stage for live music in Boyd Park on Wednesday, May 24 in preparation for this weekend's Riverfest.

Officials had been considering drawing the winning ducks from the indoor pool at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel, Waters said. But that plan never gained traction when organizers realized the pool room wasn’t big enough to hold a sizable crowd.

Instead, she said, the winning numbers simply will be drawn at 3 p.m. Sunday in Boyd Park. Her only problem now, Waters said, is finding a hopper big enough to hold all the tickets representing the approximately 2,700 entries the contest attracts each year.

More:Farmington's Riverfest adapting to expected flooding from large snowpacks

“I’m still looking for one,” she said.

A big upside to the addition of Boyd Park as a festival anchor this year is the abundant, nearby parking it offers, Waters said.

“It’s going to make parking a lot easier,” she said. “The lot is huge across from Boyd Park, and that’s going to take care of a lot of the congestion.”

Waters noted that the Red Apple Flyer bus system would be running free shuttle buses on a regular basis between the south end of the festival at Boyd Park to the north end at Berg Park. She said the riverparks trail between the two parks also is expected to be open to those who prefer to walk, although there is a slight chance it could be closed under the Broadway Avenue bridge by high water.

A tent is set up in Farmington's Boyd Park on Wednesday, May 27 in preparation for this weekend's Riverfest.

But that scenario appeared unlikely headed into the weekend. Waters said the Animas River flow actually had decreased significantly late this week, dropping from 4,000 cubic feet per second to 3,000 cfs on Tuesday.

Waters said the only other festival event that remains in jeopardy is the Riverfest Fun Run, which offers 10k and 5k runs, along with a 2-mile walk, on the riverparks trails system. The event is planned to take place as scheduled on Saturday morning, but a late surge of snowmelt could derail those plans, she said.

Riverfest runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, although some activities do cost money. Visit or see the schedule.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610

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