Pedal to the party this weekend at River Island Park

Pedal to the party this weekend at River Island Park

WOONSOCKET - Celebrate life, bicycles and the Blackstone River this Saturday, July 20, at Riverfest 2013, held from noon to 4 p.m. at River Island Park.

The festival, held at the park located at the intersection of Bernon and South Main streets, will feature food trucks, a "River Love" chalk art contest on the concrete ice rink platform, children's activities, vendors and workshops.

Musical acts include local bands Atlantic Thrills, Extraordinary Rendition Band, The Mighty Good Boys and Royal Ram.

But the main event is the dual morning bicycle parades that will meet up to ride through the city and kick off the party that celebrates the "sharrow" symbols, which were painted throughout the city - thanks to the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, the Woonsocket City Planner, Riverzedge and NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley - to create economic development opportunities within the Main Street Arts District, and connect the Blackstone River Bikeway to the Massachusetts border.

Bicycle parades beginning in Uxbridge, Mass., and Providence will meet up at Hamlet Avenue and the Blackstone, Mass. depot between 11 and 11:30 a.m. to ride in the new bike lanes striped through the city.

From the north, cyclists will gather at River Bend Farm in Uxbridge and leave at 9 a.m., riding into Uxbridge center and following Route 122 into Blackstone. A stop on Canal Street at the former Blackstone Depot will allow riders to rest on the bridge overlooking the river.

From the south, the group will ride the off-road bikeway along the Blackstone River, past dams and waterfalls, and into the Woonsocket Rivers Edge Recreational Complex and soccer fields.

Interested cyclists from Massachusetts should contact Bob Billington at bvri@aol.com and those from Rhode Island should contact Eric Weis at eric@greenway.org.

Event sponsors are Riverzedge Arts, Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, Recycle-a-Bike, Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, East Coast Greenway, ecoRI, National Grid and CH2MHill.

Rhode Island Public Transit Authority will provide a bike rack so visitors can see what it's like to bring a bike on public transit.

While Riverfest has no rain date, the chalk art contest rain date is Saturday, July 27, at noon.

More information, including how to volunteer or become a vendor, is available at www.riverzedgearts.org/news/riverfest.html .