With deep regret, we are announcing that we will not be hosting the annual River Festival this year.
For the past two decades, the River Festival has held a unique place in the cultural calendar of the City of Napa. Each event has featured the Napa Valley Symphony, the Napa High School Marching Band, educational exhibits, river activities, and fireworks, performing free to the public, outdoors either on a barge on the water or on the Third Street Bridge over at the Napa River. We had arranged for the Napa Valley Youth Symphony Orchestra to take the stage this year, but now they will not be heard. This extraordinary event has always been a shining example of cooperation between FONR, the City of Napa, our sponsors, our dozens of volunteers, and a very grateful public.
Two things have discouraged us from staging the event this year. First is the difficulty of finding major sponsorships to cover the significant expenses for entertainment, stage, sound, lighting and fireworks.
Then, there are new regulations and restrictions from the City of Napa and other agencies defeating the purpose of the Festival to celebrate the Napa River:
River access remains restricted. The 4th Street dock is still not completed, and there is no downtown access for people who arrive by boat. The beach at the Borreo Building remains fenced off, preventing the only possible access for kayakers. We have been told that the 3rd Street Bridge cannot be closed anymore, yet it has been packed with audiences during our events in the past.
This family oriented River Festival has been a memorable gift to the community for many years. In the future, we hope that these restrictions will be overcome and sponsorships rebuilt for the benefit of the citizenry not only for the River Festival but for many other community events.
Please leave a comment to let us know how you feel about the lost River Festival!