Algonquin to celebrate 10th anniversary of 'It's Our River Day' with cleanup, live music

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of “It’s Our River Day” in Algonquin, some music, art and sweets will accompany this year’s Fox River cleanup.

Hosted by the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County and the village of Algonquin, the event aims to celebrate the Fox River and raise awareness of the need to keep it healthy and clean, both of debris and nutrients.

“I like to connect people to the river. We need to keep it clean so we can use it,” said Cynthia Kanner, the outreach coordinator for the Environmental Defenders who has been involved with the Defenders and the celebration for the past decade.

“I would love to see an outfitter in downtown Algonquin putting people in inner tubes and picking them up downstream.

“We see paddlers on the river and fishermen. I just feel like not enough people really understand they can get in there and have fun on that river. Keeping it clean and having fun on it go hand in hand.”

Happening rain or shine, “It’s Our River Day” will be from 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 16 at Cornish Park, along the shore of the Fox River in downtown Algonquin. The Sierra Club will provide bags and gloves for shoreline cleanup, while the Illinois Water Trailkeepers form the Illinois Paddling Council and members of the Prairie State Canoeists will clean the river between Cornish Park and Fox River Shores in Carpentersville.

The Fox River Jeep Club will be at Buffalo Park for trash and recycling pick-up downstream. Last year’s event drew about 150 people, who picked up items such as beer cans, fishing hooks, wires and bottles from along the river.

Along with the cleanup at Cornish Park will be a solo performance by Algonquin native Thea Grace Roggenbuck. Also part of the duo Future Stuff, Roggenbuck has toured the country, receiving acclaim by artist Sheryl Crow, who saw them perform at City Winery in Nashville, Tennessee.

Area artist June Blunk will host a community painting project in which those who attend will be encourage to contribute to a river scene on canvas, and River Bottom Ice Cream Company will supply ice cream certificates and free coffee.

The event also will include a presentation by Jeff Mengler, president of the Fox River Ecosystem Partnership.

“It’s always been a community event,” Kanner said. “I feel like with the variety of people we’re pulling into it for this 10th anniversary, it’s even moreso.

“It’s easy to say, ‘Come on and care about this river,’ ” because it’s pretty special to live in a river town.”

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