The River’s Song Blends Art & Science While Supporting Community-Based Learning

The River’s Song Celebrates Connecticut River with
Wonderful Range of Events

What does drumming, spoken word, hands-on art making, environmentally-themed storytime, and a parade have to do with the Connecticut River? It’s all a part of The River’s Song, a community celebration that combines art, local history, and community-based learning opportunities to create an event that honors and celebrates the Connecticut River, the Pioneer Valley’s natural artery.

Held on Saturday, May 16th at locations throughout downtown Turners Falls, The River’s Song is a unique community celebration in that its offerings are quite diverse, yet are all still directly related to the Connecticut River and its role both in the local landscape and in our lives. With events beginning at 9am and running past 9pm, The River’s Song offers over 12 hours of river-themed play and learning. 

Families can engage in place-based science learning opportunities at the Turners Falls Fish Ladder (9am-5pm) or the Great Falls Discovery Center (10am-4pm), and can hear the river-themed, kid-written story The Fish in the Polka Dot Dress on the hour, every hour at the Great Falls Discovery Center. Additionally, the Connecticut River Watershed Council will offer a hands-on water table at the center where kids of all ages can learn about rivers. Adding to these opportunities is Turners Falls’ close proximity to the Connecticut River and a large dam, affording visitors the chance to observe hydropower at work.

Arts-based learning opportunities include the painting of river creatures with folks from The Art Garden (11-3 at the Great Falls Discovery Center) and a varied list of performances throughout the day, including spoken word in Unity Park (2:30-3pm) and drumming with Tony Vacca at the Shea Theater (4pm). In the evening, Turners Falls will light up with the WaterDance Sound and Light Performance, a piece of moving, living art that blends dance and drumming to honor the river.

Finally, the event is also rich with opportunities to explore local history and culture. The Nolumbeka Project, an organization working to preserve Native American history, will offer a historic Native American sites walking tour (5:30-7pm), highlighting important elements of local history. In stark contrast to the study of Turners Falls past is the opportunity to march in the River Parade (3pm). Beginning at the Great Falls Discovery Center, the parade is open to all and serves as a direct reflection of present-day love for the Connecticut River.

Made possible by collaboration between numerous organizations, The River’s Song is free too all and offers exciting and unique opportunities to explore a familiar place with the theme of rivers in mind. More info can be found at

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