RioPalooza: Family-Friendly Bilingual River Festival

September 18, 2021 | 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM
(Rain Date: No Rain Date)

Pre-registration is now closed for this event but feel free to come out Saturday at noon. Sign the waivers and you can still join in the fun!

English En español

RioPalooza Purpose and Partners

RioPalooza festival fun

Along with our partners – the U.S. Forest Service, Hispanic Access Foundation, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, and a diverse community of friends and family, we are proud to host RioPalooza – a free celebration of the Shenandoah River and National Hispanic Heritage Month!

Just fifteen minutes west of Front Royal, and nestled up against the banks of Passage Creek, the Elizabeth Furnace Recreational Area is the perfect location to bring together all members of our watershed to enjoy the beauty of the George Washington National Forest, learn more about its important role in protecting clean drinking water for everyone living downstream, and to just enjoy a day with family and friends in a beautiful setting.

RioPalooza fishing practice

As a special bonus, Latin Grammy Award-winning artist, author, activist, and educator, Mister G, will perform an interactive children’s concert at RioPalooza, showcasing bilingual music that aims to protect our water and land, dissolve borders, and foster cross-cultural connections.

This is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to come together and enjoy nature and demonstrate our passion for conservation, with a special focus on the unique perspectives of Latinos and other diverse communities and cultures in our region. Educational booths and displays will help festival-goers learn more about our human connection to the environment and shine a spotlight on the commitment of Latinos in conservation.

Dual language materials and bilingual staff will be available on site to engage participants with a Spanish-language preference.

Specific RioPalooza Events

  • Mister G Concert: Pull up a chair or stand and dance as the Mister G band performs their musical magic celebrating the environment and Latino culture with the kids! We are extremely fortunate to have Mister G squeeze in a performance given that this Latin Grammy-award-winner has performed at Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits and literally around the world!
  • Fishing: We will have a selection of spinning rods and lures available for youngsters and families to borrow during the day. Volunteers will also be on hand to assist you in catching that fish! Please note that anyone fishing over 16 years of age will need a Virginia fishing license. It’s important to come with a fishing license as they will not be for sale on site and cell phone coverage is poor to nonexistent, so you will not be able to purchase one online while at RioPalooza.
  • Tubing: Join representatives from PRKN for a short but fun tube trip down the beautiful Passage Creek, a tributary of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River. Be ready to hop out in the shallows and over the riffles, and wear closed-toe water shoes.
  • Forest Bathing: While walking quietly in and amongst the trees, engage in a sensory experience by soaking up the sights, smells and sounds of nature to promote mental, physical and emotional health. Rejuvenate, reconnect and restore. No bathing suit required!
  • Snorkeling: Ever wonder what is going on below the waterline with those aquatic organisms and fish in our streams? Join us for an amazing underwater experience with a mask and a snorkel and get up close and personal with biodiversity underneath the water’s surface. U.S. Forest Service personnel will be on hand to ensure we have a safe, fun, and educational experience, and Spanish translators will help you identify those critters in two languages.
  • Fun Educational Kids’ Games: Learn about the importance of clean water while engaging in fun games and activities for kids of all ages!!
  • Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (VDWR): Check out the different kinds of fish that call the Shenandoah River system home!! Our good friends at VDWR will have an aquarium and VDWR biologist, Jason Hallacher, on hand to answer all of your questions.
  • Macroinvertebrate Station. Join Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River in learning how to sample Passage Creek for benthic macroinvertebrates, how to identify these critters, and what the different sensitivities of critters present say about overall stream/river health!
  • Buffalo Soldiers: Learn about the legacy and achievements of the Buffalo Soldiers with an emphasis on their contributions to park and forest preservation and their role in our nation’s conservation history.
  • Food: It wouldn’t be RioPalooza without delicious Latino food! Feel free to pack your own lunch but please remember that Charlies Bowl food truck from Vienna, VA will be on hand.  You simply can’t go wrong with their amazing Latin Street Sandwich! Sooo good.  And if you are looking for something cool and sweet we are also having C and C Frozen Treats ice cream truck out of Front Royal, VA.  Simply the best!!
  • Conservation Booths: Our friends at other environmental and conservation groups are being encouraged to staff a booth and share their mission with us in two languages during RioPalooza.


RioPalooza nature experience for kids

For many, caring for the environment grows out of joyful, shared experiences in nature. RioPalooza is giving everyone the chance to get out on, in, and even under the water of the Shenandoah River and its tributaries, together!

Covid-19. All events being planned will take into consideration Covid-19 Center for Disease Control protocols; being both good stewards of the river and good neighbors with one another.

Event Details

Lead Riverkeeper:
Mark Frondorf – (571) 969-0746 or

Para detalles y asistencia en español, llame:
Dr. Kimberly Winter, USFS, (703) 341-7292,

Arrival Location:
Elizabeth Furnace Recreational Area
George Washington National Forest
Fort Valley, Virginia

From I-66: Take Exit 6 (Front Royal) and proceed south on SR 340/522 for 1.3 miles until you come to a stoplight. Turn right onto VA 55 West for 5 miles to the small community of Waterlick. Turn left onto SR 678 and go approximately 6 miles. Elizabeth Furnace Recreation Area will be on your left. There are several offsite parking areas available on either side of SR 678 near the venue, should the EF parking lot be full.

(Directional signs will be on site to point you in the correct direction)

Event hours: 12 PM–6 PM

Free Registration and Required Waivers:

Free registration helps us with the planning process to ensure that we are properly equipped to handle the number of people that will attend RioPalooza.

The following Liability Waivers are required for each participant in your party. Please fill out and submit in advance.

Each registration provides you with the use of:

  • Snorkel Gear (mask, snorkel, and wetsuit);
  • Float Tube;
  • Personal flotation device; and
  • $5 coupon to be redeemed at one of the RioPalooza food trucks on site

What to Bring:

  • Wear proper footwear for any water-based activities. No flip-flops will be allowed in the snorkeling or tubing activities. Old gym shoes, sandals with a strap, and closed-toe water shoes work great
  • Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit and towel to enjoy the snorkeling and tubing
  • Reef-friendly sunscreen, eco-friendly insect spray, hat and rain gear (we want to ensure that unsafe chemicals do not make their way into the water)
  • Food and drinking water (please bring refillable water bottles and help us reduce plastic trash near our waterways)
  • Change of clothes
  • Dry Bag or Waterproof Container (for phones, cameras, or other devices, you need a way to protect it)
  • If you plan to fish, bring a valid fishing license Special note– there is little to NO cell phone or wi-fi reception at Elizabeth Furnace. Please plan your mapping and other communications needs accordingly.

Tag us in your paddle trips on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or TikTok — #RiverPalooza2021


RioPalooza 2021 Sponsors

2021-09-18 12:00 2021-09-18 18:00 RioPalooza: Family-Friendly Bilingual River Festival

September 18, 2021 | 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM (Rain Date: No Rain Date) Pre-registration is now closed for this event but feel free to come out Saturday at noon. Sign the waivers and you can still join in the fun! RioPalooza Purpose and Partners Along with our partners – the U.S. Forest Service, Hispanic […]