Take two: Second River Fusion 22 unites communities

September, 2018 Posted in Nature, News, Other

By Mary Owen

North Santiam Chamber Spring 2012

River Fusion 22 will include kayaking excursions. Sheldon Traver

River Fusion 22 will again celebrate the best of the regions outdoor recreation fun and small town charm.

Launched last year during the Great American Eclipse, River Fusion 22 is the North Santiam River Country’s signature regional outdoor recreation festival.
This year, the event moves to the fall, Sept. 20-23.

“Our concept this year is to provide a wide sampling of activities that will give folks a sense of the depth of outdoor recreation opportunities here plus a unique combination of entertainment, all in one weekend,” said Allison McKenzie, executive director of GROW-EDC, the organization coordinating the festival and the larger tourism initiative aimed at raising the profile of this area between Salem and Bend.

“Locals know that North Santiam River Country is gorgeous, but for visitors who have never strayed off of Highway 22 to check out the river, forests and small towns, this weekend will be a real treat. Even those who live here forget what lies around the next corner, so we hope that this weekend menu of activities inspires our locals to get out and about, too.”

River Fusion 22 is part of a regional tourism initiative that grew out of the Economic Vitality Summit in 2015 and GROW’s rural tourism training with Travel Oregon in 2016, “all pointed toward our effort to become an outdoor recreation destination in our own right, not simply a gateway to somewhere else,” McKenzie said.

“We’re excited for this second year of the festival and are grateful for the many partners who have stepped up to dazzle our visitors and wow our locals with a diversity of activities all through the weekend,” she added. “We’ve arranged the schedule so you and your friends or family can do it all if you want to!”

Several weekend activities are centered at Camp Taloali, including a specially-priced rafting trip offered by eNRG Kayaking on Saturday morning, demonstrations by Boy Scout Troop 50, and a historical radio show performance of “Westward the Women” by Aumsville Community Theatre on Friday. Camp Taloali is also offering lodging and camping opportunities for the long weekend and a $10 Adventure Pass for those who want to dig deeper into the outdoor recreation available at the camp, including archery, biking, challenge course, fishing, swimming pool, disc golf and much more.

Weekend events include Stayton’s “Friday Nite Fusion Downtown” with food and shopping; Santiam Memorial Hospital’s Un-Murder Mystery Golf Tournament at Santiam Golf Course on Saturday morning; a special “Come Together” concert with the Portland Lesbian Choir at the United Methodist Church in Stayton on Saturday evening; a whitewater rafting trip offered by Mill City-based eNRG Kayaking on Sunday; the Jordan Chicken Run car show, fly-in and BBQ on Sunday afternoon, and a special photo Facebook contest in Detroit centered on their famous Detroit Rocks that will be hidden in the area over
the weekend.

“Other activities include covered bridge tours in Scio and multiple opportunities to get out in the woods on our national forest trails and in our parks, like Fishermen’s Bend in Mill City along the North Santiam River and Silver Falls State Park, arguably the best place in the state to take in multiple waterfalls on one simple hike, including one you can walk behind,” McKenzie said.

In its inaugural year River Fusion 22 won 2017 Festival of the Year (budget under $150,000) from Oregon Festivals & Events Association and won Travel Salem’s “Most Oregon Part of Oregon” 2017 Most Inspired Award.

“Many partners are involved in planning this festival as it moves to the fall, and we’re excited about this opportunity to showcase our area to visitors and to locals who may not often get a chance to sample so much outdoor recreation fun in one weekend,” McKenzie said.

For information, call McKenzie at 503-871-5188.

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