Just because school started doesnt mean you cant do a road trip. Check out the fun at the 20th annual Thousand Springs Festival near Hagerman Sept. 29 and 30. The event features art, music, outdoor activities and the opportunity to see Thousand Springs State Park and nearby sites.
The event is held at historic Ritter Island, which is about a two-hour drive from Boise and along the Snake River beneath the spectacular backdrop of the areas cascading springs.
About 60 artisans will display their work for 4,000 visitors who attend the festival.
Parking is restricted to the top of the canyon during the festival. School buses take visitors to Ritter Island, and art and food booths are located on both sides of the bridge.
You can stroll the grounds of the old historic dairy farm, dip your feet into the spring water creek, walk the islands trail or gaze at nearby Minnie Miller Falls. Various musicians will perform throughout the weekend, including Saturdays headliner The Fabulous Chancellors from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Other festival events include hay rides with draft horses and wagon rides courtesy of the Southern Idaho Draft Horse and Mule Association. Check out the Kids Corner where kids can decorate pumpkins, work on craft projects and get their faces painted.
You can get a different view of the island and waterfalls by circling the island during an hour-long canoe trip. Canoes, paddles and life jackets are provided by Idaho Guide Service, Inc. and Sagebrush Canoe. You can go alone or with a guide.
Along the way, you paddle on the clear spring-fed creek that flows along the east side of the island and then on the Snake River as it flows on the west side of Ritter Island. If you plan to paddle, dress to get wet. The river is mellow around Ritter Island, but there are still strong currents.
Its easy to combine your visit to the festival with a drive along the Thousand Springs Scenic Byway between Hagerman and Buhl, then from Buhl go north to Wendell and Interstate 84. Bring a road map or plan to use your GPS to find the route.
You can add side trips to the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument and the Hagerman Wildlife Management Area (a great place for wildlife watching and seeing fish raised at the nearby hatchery).
There are also commercial hot springs in the area, scenic river excursions, state parks at Box Canyon and Malad Gorge and more. For details, go to hagermanchamber.com.
THOUSAND SPRINGS FESTIVAL: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30. Admission: Adults: $6, Seniors ages 62 and older: $5, Children ages 5 to 12: $3, Children 4-years and younger: free. Park entrance fee is waived during the two-day event. Pets are not allowed.
For details: ThousandSpringsFestival.org, (208) 432-5334.
Natalie Bartley: email@example.com