New Orange Solstice Riverfest comes to the Millers River

ORANGE — A new solstice celebration will take place along the Millers River at and around the Community Boat House on Saturday, the first day of summer.

Pam Browning, who runs the boat house for Peak Expeditions, the paddling company that rents boats and provides river excursions, came up with the idea after thinking of ways to bring tourism to the town and encourage residents to enjoy the amazing resource of the river. Browning, who has attended a similar festival in a different town, thought a Solstice Riverfest would be a perfect fit for Orange.

The family-friendly event will take place from 4 to 10 p.m. Attractions include a lighted boat parade open to anyone interested in participating, as well as floating fire pits on the river and skydivers from Jumptown, who will be landing in the water guided by the floating fire pits. Music, food, yoga on the river bank, drumming, face painting and pony rides will also take place with most of the children’s activities occurring between 4 and 6 p.m.

The event is free and families can pack their own food to picnic by the river. Food vendors will be available to purchase food as well.

Entrance into the lighted boat parade is $20 per boat and three prizes will be awarded. Entries into the parade will be accepted through event day up until 7 p.m. that evening.

The event will continue through the weekend with a solstice paddle in conjunction with the Millers River Watershed on Sunday. All are welcome to group paddle starting at 11 a.m. at the Alan Rich Environmental Park in Athol. Participants have the choice of using their own boat or renting one from the boat house starting at 10 that morning.

Room is available for additional crafters, musicians and food vendors. You can contact Pam Browning for more information directly by calling 508-277-5836, call the festival number 413-648-7673 or go online The event is sponsored by the Orange Lions Club and Orange Business Association.

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