Through informational, fun activities, the San Antonio River Authority’s supporting nonprofit, San Antonio River Foundation, strives to constantly keep river education and recreational opportunities in people’s minds. Both organizations have an inaugural event coming up this weekend. The first River Arts Fest is scheduled from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, at the future site of Confluence Park, 310 W. Mitchell St. The public is invited to learn about fostering conservation, environment and sustainability through art and education. The festival will include art exhibits, a pop-up art market, recycling art activities and junk art demonstrations, gardening and informational sessions, live music, food, and a recycle/sustainable fashion show. Admission is free and open to the public. The River Arts Fest is the latest event to publicize major initiatives and assets that the river authority and foundation have, such as Confluence Park.
On a 3-acre tract in Southtown, where the river meets San Pedro Creek in what is now the river’s Mission Reach, Confluence Park will sit where a utility pipe yard used to be. It’s the River Foundation’s main contribution to the Mission Reach Ecological Restoration and Recreation Project. The foundation has a vision mapped out for Confluence Park, which will have green space and native plants that link with the river authority’s ecology programs. The future park already has hosted a few foundation-organized public education events.
That’s not all. The River Foundation has also planned a River Relay for November 1 to support the park’s development. Participants may grab a partner and kayak and run a 3-mile stretch of the river. Kayakers would start at Mission Concepcion and go down-river to Padre Park where they will tag a partner who will run back to the starting point. Refreshments await everyone at the race’s end at Confluence Park. If the autumn appears busy for the River Foundation, the nonprofit has wrapped up a busy summer. In June, the River Foundation held its annual RiverTini Pour-Off fundraiser at Embassy Suites Riverwalk Hotel. The Foundation also helped commission artist Vincent Valdez to craft and install two sarape-inspired benches on the Mitchell Street overlook, north of the park’s future site.
The foundation’s plans for the Mission Reach include the enhancement of footbridges, and the creation of portals at Missions Concepción, San José, San Juan and Espada. Contractor Blazing Lazer Art and Engraving has begun to create Stacy Levy’s design at the Mission Concepcion portal. The concrete in the plaza area was acid-stained to give it a rich red tone. The plaza also features concrete etching designed to reflect the look and feel of flowing water and the patterns of fluid motion. For more information about the San Antonio River Foundation, visit www.sariverfoundation.org.