It’s a River Ruckus

Missing Event Data

BY SHANNON BLANKINSHIP, Outreach Director, St. Johns Riverkeeper

A Free Family Festival celebrating the St. Johns River
August 27, 10am to 4pm at the Riverside Arts Market, 715 Riverside Ave.

The St. Johns River has been dealt some major blows over the past year. Algae blooms continue to anger residents that have been voicing concerns and seeking solutions for decades. The decision to allow higher concentrations of carcinogens in our water by the state has also been met with outrage. The dismal amount of Amendment 1 funding that has gone into conservation land acquisition has left citizens feeling like no one is listening.

While there is much to begrudge, continuing to showcase our river as a source of recreation, tourism, exploration and beauty is more important than ever. The fourth annual River Ruckus is a family festival that looks to celebrate the St. Johns through recreational and educational opportunities. Hosted jointly by St. Johns Riverkeeper and the Riverside Arts Market, local leaders like Deutsche Bank, Sadler Point Marina, Jacksonville University, Black Creek Outfitters, Freedom Boat Club, and All Wet Sports join forces to create a fun day of water excitement.

This year, join us for boat trips, SUP lessons, downtown kayaking, kids crafts and fishing clinic, and live music along the St. Johns River. Are you a Pokemon Go fan? Want a fun, free kids game that teaches a conservation lesson? We’ve got lots of fun ways to spend a hot summer day on the water. Plus, craft beer from SweetWater Brewing Company with seasonal specialties will be on hand for adults. Here are some of the activities:

Local celebrities prepare to jump into the St. Johns as part of JumpingFish's Celebrity River Jump

  • Marine science boat tours from leaders at Jacksonville University’s Marine Science Research Institute on the research vessel Larkin.
  • Crafts and waterless carnival games for kids and families
  • Fish and Wildlife Commission fishing clinic casting station on the river
  • Beginner SUP lessons on land and in the water with local retailer, All Wet Sports
  • Pokemon Go Cleanup Crawl with teams to compete to clean the river and catch them all!
  • Paddling flotilla with Black Creek Outfitters through the heart of downtown Jacksonville
  • Free boat tours all day for those of you thinking about recreational boat ownership, or membership with a boat club like Freedom Boat Club based in Julington Creek and St. Augustine
  • Custom Bote Stand Up Paddleboard raffle for only $5, as well as giveaways from SweetWater Brewing Company. Enter to win online at

Plus, all of the incredible local farmers and artisans that Northeast Florida has to offer will continue to be at the Riverside Arts Market all day. Join us for this fun festival and walk away feeling stronger and more determined to advocate for a cleaner St. Johns River. Visit for River Ruckus details.

About Shannon Blankinship

Shannon Blankinship is the Outreach Director for St. Johns Riverkeeper and contributes regularly via the “On The River” column building awareness for the many issues that impact the St. Johns River. Shannon received her B.S. from Purdue University in Natural Resources Economics and Policy and her J.D. from Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville. She is currently an elected official in Duval County serving on the Soil and Water Conservation District. She is a board member for the local nonprofit The Girls Gone Green and regularly contributes articles affecting animals and health. She is a Springfield resident and works to promote all things great in the urban core neighborhoods.