Riverfest 2019 is right around the corner and as we gear up for another great event, it has us looking back on the history of Riverfest and how it became an annual end-of-summer event that can’t be missed!
The first Riverfest was held on September 5, 1992 in Casper to celebrate the completion of the newest section of the River Trail. The inaugural event included a triathlon, BBQ, games and a Duck Regatta; known more recently as the Great Duck Derby. Since inception the event has evolved with the addition of local and regional craft beer tasting, live music, delicious food trucks, and all kinds of family fun. Another fun fact: Riverfest has been held in several different locations over the years including at the hotel once known as the Holiday Inn on the River, Morad Park and at Crossroads Park where we’ve been located for over 10 years.
What started as celebration of trail building success has also become the biggest fundraiser for Platte River Trails. While attending the event has always been FREE, Platte River Trails introduced the beer tasting component around 1997. All proceeds from the event are directed towards our organization’s work to build, maintain and enhance our community’s trails. As noted above, the first Riverfest included the famous rubber ducky race down the North Platte River, but in 2000, Platte River Trails made the partnership with the Great Duck Derby official, which happens to also be Rotary’s largest fundraiser. One great event, supporting many organizations doing great things to strengthen our community!
While the specific activities and entertainment have changed, that same spirit of celebration and community support lives on year after year. From the get-go, this event would not be possible without the amazing sponsors we’ve had the support of throughout the years. We want to thank all sponsors, past and present for making Riverfest a summer event staple in Casper. Together with our 2019 sponsors, Foss Motors; Williams, Porter Day and Neville, P.C; Lincoln Financial Advisors, Hilltop Bank, Rocking K Development, ANB Bank and countless in-kind supporters, we look forward to another great Riverfest celebrating the wonderful community we live in and trail expansion across the area!
Visit www.casperriverfest.com to learn more about 2019 Riverfest and support our trails by purchasing your unlimited craft beer tasting tickets ($23 before Aug, 17th or $30 day of).
Take a trip down memory lane and view past Riverfest promotions below!
Summer is certainly the busiest time for Platte River Trails Trust (PRTT) and the Casper trail system. While Casperites have long known what a jewel our trail system is, last month, the Rails to Trails Conservancy named the Platte River Trail the June 2019 “Trail of the Month!” in their quarterly magazine.
The Rails to Trails Conservancy is the nation’s largest trails organization, which works to create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines. The Platte River Trail and the Casper Rail Trail are both part of the Great American Rail Trail; a 3,700-mile route that runs from Washington D.C. to Washington State. The article, while certainly focusing on the trails, also highlights a lot of the other recreational opportunities that make Casper a great place to live and visit.
As documented in the publication, our trails have a deep connection to Casper’s history and the river that winds through it. Much of the system follows right along the river, marrying these two great assets. Beginning in West Casper at Paradise Valley Park, the trail continues northeast through Morad, Amoco Park, and Crossroads Parks, to Bryan Stock Trail at the North Casper Sports Complex. Throughout the 10 miles of trail, users can enjoy all kinds of natural and urban scenery, as well as opportunities to meditate and connect at the Bart Rea Learning Circle or utilize a number of fitness stations along the trails. Don’t worry—we have trail maps available to help you find your way!
Despite the current beauty and functionality of our trails, PRTT, trail advocates, and partners have plans for future improvements, including an extension of the River Trail from Paradise Valley to Robertson Road via a new bridge over the North Platte River as well as connecting downtown to both the Platte River Trail and the Casper Rail Trail. With Casper City Council’s recent approval for PRTT to utilize $1.5 million in One-Cent Tax funds, the future is only going to get brighter for our Casper trails!
Learn more of what PRTT staff, board, partners and trails users had to say about being featured as the June 2019 “Trail of the Month” in the complete Rails to Trails article.
Very few people can say they have been with the same organization for 20 years but Angela Emery sure can. June 1st marks Angela’s 20th year as the Executive Director of the Platte River Trails Trust (PRTT) and if you’ve ever had the chance to visit with her about what she does, it’s clear she still has the same enthusiasm and drive that brought her to PRTT in the first place.
Since taking the lead in June of 1999, Angela has directed PRTT’s conservation and trail development efforts along the North Platte River. PRTT’s official mission is to develop a river pathway while preserving the scenic, natural and historic value of the North Platte River, and to assist with the development of a network of trails that contribute to our community’s non-motorized transportation options, economic vitality and quality of life.
While the citizen-lead organization has constructed over 10 miles of river trail, a Trails Center, 3 miles of rail trail, new trails on Casper Mountain Road and Robertson Road and spearheaded clean-up, preservation and development of the North Platte River, one of the accomplishments Angela is most proud of is working daily with an amazing volunteer Board and dedicated City staff to expand and enhance the community trail network.
“The work our organization has done to expand our trails, host events and offer classes to our community along the trail has really helped to bring people down to the river and make it what it is today—gorgeous, free flowing and accessible,” says Angela.
The mission of PRTT isn’t just a professional passion of Angela’s, it’s a personal one too. As an avid runner, she and her family, including her two standard poodles, Chloe and Isabelle, are frequent trail users. She believes whole-heartedly in promoting the importance of the North Platte River and providing a safe, accessible trail system throughout Casper for all to enjoy.
In a recent interview with Rails to Trails magazine, Angela was asked, ‘As the Casper trail system continues to grow, what are your hopes for its future?’ When describing their plans to connect the Casper Rail Trail and the Platte River Trail to neighborhoods, she stated, “my hope is that we’ll continue expanding. There’s no limit to what we can do to make walking, biking and being out in nature safe and accessible for all.” With an attitude like that, there’s no doubt that with Angela leading the charge, great things are ahead for PRTT.