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RioPalooza Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Sep 17, 2022 @ 12:00 PM 6:00 PM

RioPalooza logo

Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

“A full Day of Free, Family-Friendly Fun”

Saturday, September 17, 2022​ | 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM
George Washington Jefferson National Forest (outside Front Royal, Virginia)

The George Washington National Forest, fifteen minutes west of Front Royal, the Elizabeth Furnace Recreational Area is the perfect location to gather family and friends for a day outdoors. 

On Saturday, September 17, RioPalooza celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month by welcoming the Latino community to a FREE, family-friendly, fun day filled with exploration and learning.  Children, and their parents, can participate in a variety of activities such as fishing, tubing, snorkeling, riding horses, dancing and so much more.

What’s a day outdoors without food?  Bring a picnic basket, use one of the many grills, or simply buy delicious foods from our vendor.  Bilingual volunteers will help connect the youngest members of the family to the wonder of nature and the importance of conservation. Together, we’ll learn how forest stewardship and local partnerships work to protect clean drinking water for everyone downstream in the Shenandoah and Potomac River watersheds.  

Spanish-language preference, and interpreters for the hearing-impaired can be available, if requested upon registering for the event. Bring the whole family and enjoy a day of learning, having fun, and even exploring a new career path in natural resources!

The Potomac Riverkeeper Network, USDA Forest Service, National Park Trust, Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Hispanic Access Foundation, Manassas Latino Festival, Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, Conservation Conexions, Buffalo Soldiers, and a diverse collaboration of regional conservation partners are proud to bring to you RioPalooza, a day-long celebration of the Shenandoah Watershed, National Hispanic Heritage Month, and the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act!

RioPalooza Activities


It wouldn’t be RioPalooza without delicious Latin foods! Feel free to bring a picnic lunch of your own, cook at any of the picnic area grills, or support local food vendors at the event. We highly encourage bringing your own reusable water bottles and recycling or reusing your plastics to help us keep our global waters clean and safe.


Spinning rods and lures will be available for youth and families to use at fishing spots along Passage Creek. Volunteers will be on hand to walk you through safe fishing practices and get you started catching that fish! (Please note that anyone fishing over 16 years of age will need a Virginia fishing license.)


Bring your swimsuit and relax with a slow, meandering tube trip down beautiful Passage Creek, a tributary of the Shenandoah River. Be ready to hop out in the shallows and over the riffles, and wear closed-toe water shoes. 

Younger children must be accompanied by an adult


Ever wonder what is going on below the water’s surface with aquatic organisms and fish? Join us for an amazing underwater experience with a mask and snorkel or viewing scopes; and get up close and personal with the biodiversity found in clean streams. Spanish interpreters will help you identify those critters in two languages. Closed toe shoes and swimsuits are advised.

Horseback Riding

Learn about the legacy and achievements of the Buffalo Soldiers, with an emphasis on their contributions to our nation’s conservation history and a free, brief guided horseback ride around the RioPalooza grounds.


Pull up a chair or stand and dance as headliner Latin Grammy-winning Mister G performs their musical magic, celebrating the environment through bilingual, interactive performances for the children!


Learn about the importance of clean water while engaging in fun games and activities for younger children at the Kid Zone!

Fish and Wildlife Demonstrations

Check out the different kinds of fish that call the Shenandoah River system home with a live aquarium, make wildlife tracks, and identify different animals by their sign.

Macroinvertebrate Station

Stop by the macroinvertebrate station to see the tiny animals that live under the rocks and in the debris of the stream, and what they indicate about water quality. Learn how to identify organisms in your neighborhood water bodies, and where to go with that information if your water is impaired.

Forest Immersion/Shirin-Yoku

Soak in the therapeutic benefits of the forest with the guided, sensory experience of forest immersion.

Interpretive Trails and Cabin

Learn about the history of Elizabeth Furnace with self-guided or guided tours of the area’s trails and cabin.

Conservation Booths

Our friends at local, regional, national and international environmental and conservation groups will be sharing their passion for clean water through informational materials and activities during RioPalooza.

For More Information, Contact:

Shenandoah Riverkeeper, Mark Frondorf – (571) 969-0746 or mark@shenandoahriverkeeper.org

Para detalles y asistencia en español, llame: Dr. Kimberly Winter, U.S. Forest Service, (703) 341-7292, kimberly.winter@usda.gov


Elizabeth Furnace Recreational Area at 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.


Due to the potential for injury by participating in these outdoor recreational activities, signed waivers are required at registration in order to participate in the RioPalooza event.

Please sign PRIOR to the event: USFS Snorkeling liability waiver

Please be advised that photographic images and video recordings will be taken at the event and may be used for promotional or educational purposes, online or in print.

Conservation Conexions
FAO Fiat Panis
US Forest Service
Virginia DWR