The River Medina has a long history, and once carried goods into the New Port, which served the Island’s capital – Carisbrooke. Today the River and its banks are important habitats for rare and interesting wildlife and a place for recreation and leisure. Isle of Wight Riverfest celebrates the heritage, community, businesses and wildlife associated with this historic river.
Isle of Wight Riverfest was launched with backing from the Newport Rivers Group in 2008 and has become the biggest free community event in Newport, attracting 4,000 people annually.
Riverfest aims to achieve the following;
- Raise awareness of the environmental and leisure benefits of the water environment
- Promote sustainable water use and conservation of wetland habitats
- To promote organisations and businesses with an interest in the River Medina and the wider community
The highlight of the annual event is a flotilla with vessels of all shapes, ages and sizes. The Wight Pirates – early 18th Century Pirate and Smuggler re-enactors usually invade Riverfest – so watch out!
A variety of organisations and charities associated with the river and the wider community attend the event. The Medina Valley Centre’s Eco-Challenger attends and gives children the chance of making toys powered by the sun and seeing the fascinating creatures that lurk in the depths of the River. Estuary related fun for children of all ages is always on offer.
Staff and volunteers from the local Wildlife Trust, are on hand to talk about the Island’s important habitats. Other wildlife enthusiasts show the important creatures of the deep that frequent the river.
Businesses specialising in local food and crafts are welcome at Riverfest. The Bargeman’s Rest treats its patrons to a special Riverfeast to celebrate the Riverfest. The local Riverside Centre is open providing light snacks and liquid refreshments.
Thanks to The Footprint Trust for the pictures of 2014’s Riverfest