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8/28/2010 - First Ever Cohansey Riverfest, Saturday, Aug. 28

The only thing better than a Crabfest and a Beer Garden to close the incredible South Jersey Summer of 2010 might just be for that same Crabfest and Beer Garden to occupy center stage at the Bridgeton Riverfront.

RiverFest LogoAnd so it will, ALL DAY, for the ALL NEW FIRST EVER COHANSEY RIVERFEST on this coming Saturday, August 28, from 10AM to 8 PM.

A new regional celebration of South Jersey, serendipitously put together by a coalition of non-profits and independent citizens, the RiverFest will bring a host of family events, many of them absolutely free, to Bridgeton, Deerfield, Hopewell, Fairfield, Greenwich & towns and access points all along Down Jersey's wildly beautiful, snaking Cohansey RIver between the City of Bridgeton in Cumberland County and Delaware Bay. 

CrabFest coordinator and Bridgeton Main Street Director Carola Hartley,

  Bridgeton Main Street Director Carola Hartley
Carola Hartley
working with Tony Stanzione and members of of the Bridgeton Area Chamber of Commerce, touts an all-day smorgasbord of seafood and refreshments at the Riverfront, with vendors galore, RiverFest and Crabfest T-shirts, fun & games for kids, live entertainment, and, says Carola, "everything the doctor ordered to cure South Jerseyans' end-of-summer blues."

The event will officially launch at Sunset Lake Beach, where high-profile reps of each of the three lake-bordering towns of Hopewell, Upper Deerfield & Bridgeton will face off in the Firstever RiverFest Sunset Lake Challenge Cup Extraordinary Kayak Race at 10 AM. The same three towns are cooperating in a lake clean-up in anticipation of reopening the beach to swimmers in 2011.

Meanwhile, across from the Bridgeton Riverfront, the Rutgers University-based Cousteau Center will showcase a bevy of free RiverFest events for family and kids throughout the day at their newly-restored Sheppard House facility. Watershed Coordinator Lisa Calvo says the Center researches the Cohansey and Delaware Bay areas "because it's such an important region, not just on the East Coast, but in the bigger picture of global ecosystems."

Lisa Calvo
Lisa Calvo, Watershed Coordinator
She points out that the Cohansey is actually not a river but a brackish estuary with a unique coastal ecology and a physical profile that changes with the tides.

Calvo and colleagues plan to drop down to the festivities on the Bridgeton Riverfront twice in the afternoon to demo the REMUS, a robotic device for measuring a host of underwater activity, now helping track the once-disappearing caviar-producing species called the Atlantic sturgeon. The RiverFest's "feature creature" this year, the sturgeon is just beginning to make a comeback. "Kids should see that science is really about the way we live," says Lisa, "even about the way we eat and otherwise enjoy the wonders of the natural world."

PSEG is the main event sponsor for the kickoff. "We hope to see this
Ken Strait
Ken Strait
really develop into an annual event," said Ken Strait of the Salem-based facility. The company, highlighting their reclamation project at the Cohansey River Wetland Restoration Site among other eco-friendly initiatives, has put together a free "Eco-Gems" walking tour that joins with the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary to connect a string of beautiful natural areas in Fairfield Township.

  Matt Blake
Matt Blake
Matt Blake of the American Littoral Society says that learning about the area can be fun in other ways too. A devout biker, Blake has organized a "Gotta See an Eagle!" morning bike tour that costs only $6 and takes better than average bikers about 20 miles through magnificently scenic watershed, farmland, and historic villages in the area. At Hancock's Harbor in Greenwich hungry finishers can lunch at the Bait Box or shuttle-bus back to feast at the Bridgeton Crabfest.

Cumberland County preservation planner Matt Pisarski
Cumberland County Preservation Planner Matt Pisarski
Matt Pisarski
says the County has helped foster this initiative because they see the region as a true destination. "We're in such easy reach of nearby metro areas," he says, "we shouldn't be such a well-kept secret." Pisarski directs the County Cultural & Heritage Commission, which together with Bridgeton's Gallery 50 is offering a $400 prize to the best landscape painting to come out of the RiverFest.

Calling the event "a great chance to put nature and culture together," preservationist and RiverFest committeemember Flavia Alaya also sees it as a regional green and heritage tourism event with a future. Alaya will join other local history buffs in a late afternoon walking tour around the historic Bridgeton waterfront. "The river is the reason people and landscape are so intimately connected here," she says. "We plan to show our gratitude and have a good time doing it." The Nail House Museum near the Riverfront in Bridgeton and the John DuBois Maritime Museum on Ye Greate Street in Greenwich will be open to tell some of the industrial and maritime history of the region.

Check the dedicated RiverFest website: for a full list of ALL activities, regular updates, parking, navigating, and other free downloadable info. A link to the RiverFest page is also available at the Bridgeton Area website:

A short list of Free & Family-friendly RiverFest activities at or near the Bridgeton Riverfront is below.

Crab Fest LogoAdvance Crabfest meal-tickets are $10 ($12 at the festival): Call 856-575-5582, 973-864-4001, OR 856-455-1312, OR email:

Remember, you must be over 21 for the Beer Garden!


Celebrate the Cohansey River in scenic Cumberland Co, NJ, with Crabfest&Beer, music, vendors & entertainment on the Bridgeton Riverfront & many activities to enjoy all along our beautiful, wildlife-filled rivershed.

Paddle the Bridgeton Raceway with Al & Sam - Enjoy great exercise & family fun cruising the old Raceway thru Bridgeton City Park to the wild kingdom of the historic Cohanzick Zoo, oldest in the state. Start @ Raceway canoe-launch just off Mayor Aitken Drive @ Washington St, Bridgeton. 10AM - 5 PM.

Marine Science Snapshots – 10 images/10 minutes! Share a day in the life of a marine scientist, as experts show

  Coustear Center, Bridgeton
Cousteau Center
off the cool things they do--like fish-tracking & mapping, stopping shoreline erosion, restoring oyster beds, fighting oyster disease, keeping a fish-eye on the Bay bottom...and more more more! Cousteau Center/Bridgeton (31 W Commerce). 11:30 AM - 6:30 PM on the half-hour.

Get Hooked on Fishing – Children learn how to cast a rod with Rutgers University marine scientists and local fishermen. Cousteau Center/Bridgeton (31 W Commerce). Continuous, 11 AM- 2 PM

Kids’ Corner on the Cohansey: Children’s Crafts & Other Fishy Things – Stop by for some entertaining and exciting ways to get to know our RIVERFEST 2010 Feature Creature, the Atlantic Sturgeon, and other amazing marine animals. Cousteau Center/Bridgeton (31 W Commerce). 11 AM - 5PM (continuous)

Fish Tales with Mr Malcolm - EVERYBODY enjoys this great storyteller as he pulls us right into his entertaining 45-minute version of “Finding Nemo.” Ashley-McCormick Center (40 E Commerce, Bridgeton). 11 - 11:45 AM .

Sturgeon, Crabs, and Underwater Robots, Oh My! Meet the amazing autonomous underwater vehicle, REMUS REMUS 100(Remote Environmental Monitoring UnitS), and the scientists that use it to "paint a picture" of underwater habitats. Learn how this special robot is exploring the DELAWARE BAY bottom in search of the ever-elusive Atlantic sturgeon. REMUS is on display throughout the day--except when you get to see it IN ACTION on its Cohansey River mini-missions between Commerce & Broad Streets on the Bridgeton Riverfront. Cousteau Center/Bridgeton (31 W Commerce). COME BY ANY TIME.

Help Us launch the REMUS (Remote Environmental Monitoring UnitS) - this lightweight robotic underwater vehicle measures riverflow speed, direction, and depth, & can even describe water quality! REMUS will launch from the Riverfront, Bridgeton, about 1 PM & 3PM.

  Bill Kerwood
Bill Kerwood
Comedian Magician Bill Kerwood...combines comedy and magic in a special celebration of the Cohansey River, craftily crafted to entertain audiences of all ages! Ashley-McCormick Center (40 E Commerce, Bridgeton). 2:00-2:45 PM

For MANY more events, most of them free, go to

Click To Open The Cohansey RiverFest Web Site In A New Window