Formerly known as the Spring Running, the Kennebec Celebration is heading into its seventh year as an annual festival geared towards “Celebrating the Spring Running and Life In, On and Along the Kennebec River.” The event is free, family-friendly and typically takes place on the second Saturday in June on the grounds of Old Fort Western and the East Side Boat Launch in downtown Augusta.
Millions of river herring once ascended the Kennebec River each spring on their way from the ocean to upstream spawning grounds. The spring running of fish declined as a result of dam construction and water pollution. Now, some 30 years after the implementation of the Clean Water Act and the removal of the Edwards Dam in Augusta in 1999, citizens are seeing and experiencing a dramatic improvement in the Kennebec. The river herring population is growing and with it increased numbers of bald eagles, ospreys and even golden eagles. Striped bass and sturgeon can now be seen as far north as Waterville. Wildlife and citizens are all enjoying a rejuvenated Kennebec River Valley thanks to those who have strived to return the river to a more natural and cleaner state. The local economy has benefited too, as more people come to fish or hire fishing guides, travel the river by boat, or just come for sightseeing.
The Kennebec Celebration festival focuses on the river itself and its importance to communities along its shores, from pre-colonial times to modern day. We recognize the efforts of area conservation organizations, environmentalists, business owners, anglers, local officials and concerned citizens who want to preserve this beautiful natural resource for current generations and future generations to enjoy.
Festival attractions have included: Free tours of Old Fort Western, educational displays by conservation groups, live music performances hosted by the Kennebec Conservatory, demonstrations by the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association, Native American drumming by the Burnurwurbskek Singers of the Penobscot Indian Nation, the Fort to Fort Canoe and Kayak Expedition, a craft show featuring Maine artisans, and demonstrations and activities hosted by the Pine Tree Council of the Boy Scouts. It's a great time for kids and adults alike; stay tuned to kennebeccelebration.com for updates, and look for us on Facebook.