Penobscot River Revival on Bangor Waterfront on Saturday

Posted July 14, 2011, at 7:29 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Years ago, the Penobscot River was a dirty mess with pollution being dumped into the waterway, but cleanup efforts over the last few decades have revitalized the state’s largest river.

To celebrate the return of the river’s health, the Lower Penobscot Watershed Coalition and several other organizations will host the fourth annual Penobscot River Revival from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday on the Bangor Waterfront.

The event is free and will be held rain or shine.

The “Penobscot River Revival festival is meant to encourage a renewed spirit of stewardship toward the river, and remind people of our connectedness to the landscape where we live and the fish and wildlife that share our home,” the festival’s website states. “The event is family-friendly, and encourages outdoor, paddling and fishing-oriented activities.”

The Burnham Boys and the Park Street Pickers are scheduled to perform at the event, and there will be a number of children’s activities, as well as fly-tying, paddling on the river, historic pea pod boats, a birch-bark canoe exhibit, and displays highlighting community efforts to restore the sea-run fish of the Penobscot River and to continue to improve the health of the watershed, the website states.

Dozens of vendors, including local artists and crafters, guides, conservation groups, schools and local and federal agencies, will be on hand.

For decades, Maine’s largest waterway was polluted by residents, businesses and industries along the river, and it has taken many years of cleanup to improve water quality, event organizers have noted in years past.

“You didn’t have to worry about kids drowning, because no kids in their right mind would go in it,” Glenburn resident Tree Heckler, a fiber artist and instructor, said at the event two years ago.

The good news is that, “My kids have no memory of that at all,” she added.

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