B.C. Rivers Day is set for this Sunday at Fort George Park.
Traditionally the day is celebrated the last Sunday in September but because Prince George can get really cold by the end of the month, project coordinator Patti Gerhardi moved it up a week to September 23 from noon to 4 p.m.
"We made sure to start the celebration so the day has time to warm up and the people who are running some of the concessions will be there early,"said Gerhardi.
The Prince George BC Rivers Day Music Festival is a free community event celebrating rivers through watershed stewardship, environmental education and community involvement. Live music and interactive displays provide entertainment and information for all ages.
"It's going to be really, really cool," she added.
There's a full schedule of live entertainment including First Nations soloist Cheryl Bear from Fort Fraser with inspirational songs.
"We thought that would be a very nice way to start our day and because we talk about the celebration but we also want to give thanks sometimes and acknowledge the luxuries we have in the Prince George area," Gerhardi explained. "We just need to be grateful sometimes."
Headliners are Rosewood's Diary from Vanderhoof, an eclectic rock folk group.
Minister Shirley Bond will offer a greeting to open the celebrations, Steve Henderson from Spectra Energy, a sponsor of the event, will also offer a few words.
Rivers Day is a province-wide event established in 1980 and coordinated by the Outdoor Recreation Council (ORC). It takes place in communities throughout B.C. with more than 75,000 people attending about 100 events each year. The success of this event has recently prompted the establishment of National Rivers Day, part of the UN Water for Life Decade that began in 2005. A new World Rivers Day will be celebrated each September, modeled after B.C. Rivers Day celebrations. River-related events will take place in a number of different countries to run in conjunction with Rivers Day.
Gerhardi said the local celebration is one of the largest, if not the largest, event in B.C. with attendance of more than 4,000 annually.
"There's a lot of factors that contribute to those numbers and first and foremost, we're having the event at glorious Fort George Park right on the banks of the Fraser River," said Gerhardi. "What more appropriate thing could we do? I mean, you could have an event downtown Vancouver on concrete, but what's the point?"
There will be many children's activities, including painting wooden sturgeon, which will be placed on the community mural along Ospika Boulevard at the Ministry of Environment yard.
"The fence is getting full, we're going to have to look for more space," said Gerhardi, coordinator of the event for the last seven years. "And these fish are very valuable art from real community artists that are no more than the age of nine."
Also returning is the fish pond where children can catch a one-pound fish and take it home and eat it.
"This is our third or fourth year and every year I bring my barbecue, fully intending to have a meal of the fish left behind -- never to have a fish left behind," said Gerhardi. "I've been sadly disappointed every year! It's a part of our culture to have an opportunity to enjoy the fishing aspects of our freshwater."
There will also be 19 interactive information booths at the festival.
"I never see unhappy people at Rivers Day," said Gerhardi. "It's such a positive event and what a great way to spend a beautiful afternoon in the Prince George area."
For more information visit www.riversdaymusic.org.