Hudson’s RiverFest offers events ranging from St. Croix conservation to Native American heritage

Weeklong celebration seeks to educate and entertain, and build support for river protection.




4 minute read

Via St. Croix RiverFest:

Hudson’s seventh annual St. Croix RiverFest celebration is set for July 16-21. RiverFest “A Party with a Purpose” is designed to inspire people of all ages to get out and celebrate the St. Croix River while recognizing the need to preserve and protect the river’s health and beauty.

This year’s RiverFest starts with a pre-event on Thursday, July 11. Mark your calendar for a Community Forum on “The State of the St. Croix River” at the Hudson Area Public Library from 6:30-8 p.m. This is a free program and open to the public with two guest speakers presenting information on the St. Croix River.

Michael Mroz, Director of Public Works & Parks will present “Storm Water Management in the City of Hudson.” Mroz became City of Hudson’s Director of Public Works & Parks in August 2018 and brings more than 14 years of extensive experience to the municipal public works. He obtained his Bachelor’s in Kinesiology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and his Master’s in Recreation Management from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. As the Director, Mroz is responsible for directing the budgets, operations and maintenance of the city’s streets, parks, urban forest, and stormwater infrastructure.

Jim Almendinger, PhD, Director, St. Croix Watershed Research Station will present “How Clean is our St. Croix River today?” The Station, in Marine on St. Croix, Minn., is the environmental research institute of the private non-profit Science Museum of Minnesota. Almendinger received a B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He spent several years doing post-doctoral work in Alaska and Sweden before joining the Research Station in 1995 and assuming the directorship in 2017. His research interests focus on land-water interactions, including the hydrology of lakes, streams and wetlands; the impact of humans on watersheds; and the hydrologic effects of climate change.

Another pre-event is the Native American Day on Saturday, July 13 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hudson Family Fresh Market. Stop by for samplings of Native-inspired foods and free recipes. There will also be a RiverFest table with information about upcoming events and tickets will be available for the Woodland Echoes program on the evening of July 20, featuring Native American food tastings, followed by a performance by Woodland Sky Native American Dance Company.

RiverFest is a six-day celebration with a variety of family friendly activities. Starting on Tuesday morning, July 16, with the riverfront clean-up, Carpenter Nature Center animal ambassadors and the Toonies ENVIRO-FUN puppet show in the evening. Wednesday’s events include a naturalist at the library, Yoga in the Park and an evening prairie hike. The St. Croix Valley Community Band concert is on Thursday, July 18. On Friday there is Tai Chi in the park and the RiverFest Nature Boat Cruise with a naturalist. Saturday is a kids fishing derby and the Native American Celebration. RiverFest wraps up on Sunday, July 21 with the Hudson Inclusion Alliance’s Longer Table community potluck, and the Octagon House Museum’s Civil War Encampment.

RiverFest Native American events will be take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Lakefront Park on July 20. The Saturday morning program features Paul Ninham presenting, demonstrating and conducting play of lacrosse and longball. Visitors are invited to play with traditional equipment and experience Indigenous culture through traditional game play.

Ninham, of the Wolf Clan from the Oneida Nation, graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and earned his Master of Tribal Administration and Governance from the University of Minnesota in Duluth. He has specialized in Native Youth Development and worked in Wisconsin, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.

The Saturday afternoon program starts with a show by Woodland Sky Native American Dance Company, followed by a traditional pow-wow format by dancers and singers from the St. Croix Chippewa tribe.

The Lakefront Park bandshell area will also feature heritage and cultural displays, Native American arts and crafts for sale and Native foods such as wild rice soup and Indian tacos. A plains-style teepee will be on site to house displays and activities.

New this year is Woodland Echoes: Native American Tastes, Sights & Sounds, an evening program at Willow River Elementary School on July 20. Guests can experience the flavors of the woodlands with tastings of pre-colonial foods such as wild rice, native plants, bison, the three sisters vegetables and sweet maple syrup treats. A special performance by Woodland Sky Dance Company will highlight the evening’s entertainment. Tickets are $15 each or $25 per couple and available in Hudson at Family Fresh Market, Hudson House Grand Hotel and The Purple Tree. The evening program is presented by Family Fresh Market and Royal Credit Union.

For details and additional events, visit or like them on Facebook at Hudson St. Croix RiverFest.

Watch a recent interview with organizers: