Have fun, help river at festival

Jul. 05, 2013 @ 06:34 PM

Dara Shain, enjoying herself with her 5-year-old daughter at the Festival on the Eno on the Fourth of July, undoubtedly spoke for many of the thousands of people who have attended or will attend the event.

“”I come every year,” Shain told The Herald-Sun’s April Dudash. “It just wouldn’t a Durham summer without coming here.”

Over the past 34 years, since the first Eno festival in 1980, the festival has evolved into what the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau rightly calls “one of Durham’s not to be missed events.”

It is inextricably tied to our Independence Day rituals; it has come to seem as much a part of the celebration as fireworks and outdoor grills. It is a time for folks to savor not only the gem that is our Eno River City Park, but also to enjoy music, displays such as that by the Orange County Beekeepers, fair food and fellowship.

Perhaps most important, it’s an opportunity to support the Eno River Association, which since 1966 has been working to protect and enhance, as its website puts it, “the wild, picturesque, and historic Eno River.”

The association started as a grassroots group formed to combat city plans to dam the Eno as a new water supply for Durham. The organizers succeeded in that – and eventually lobbied for the creation of the Eno River State Park.

“In the past four decades, the Eno River State Park has grown from a few hundred acres to over 4,000 acres …” the website notes. “With the addition of the West Point on the Eno City Park, Old Farm Park, Penny’s Bend, Little River Regional Park and the Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area, the community has come far towards realizing its preservation goals–but much remains to be done.

“There is still land to be acquired and protected, and serious threats to the Eno and its surrounding watershed have not eased.”

If you missed the festival on Thursday, take heart – you have another opportunity today. The festival will be underway from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and once again, the weather promises to cooperate. High temperatures will probably hit 90, but we’ve seen hotter festivals. There’s a chance of thundershowers in the afternoon, but nothing like our deluges of last weekend and early this week.

So head out to West Point on the Eno, have some fun, enjoy the park – and know you’ll be helping to maintain one of our great resources, the Eno River.