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RACINE — Everyone is invited to celebrate the Root River at Family Fun Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday, July 15 at Island Park, 1700 Liberty St.

The free event is hosted by the Root River Council, a nonprofit committed to revitalizing and redeveloping the river, and the Racine Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services.

Root River
Secluded stretches of the Root River within the city can be accessed by canoe or kayak. – Credit: Paul Holley

“We hope to help transform Island Park from the most underused to most used park in the city,” said Marybeth Zulhke, Root River Council secretary.

Island Park’s enclosed pavilion, including public restrooms, has been remodeled; a new pickleball court and a new dog walking area have been installed, and the tennis courts have been resurfaced, she noted.

Plenty to see and do

Free lunch fare from The Main Project & Café and free custard from Culver’s will be available while supplies last. Local music artists Cheryl McCrary and Alicia Villa will provide entertainment. Kids of all ages can take part in face painting, balloon animal art, storytelling, river safety workshops and dancing.

Miss Racine Margret Hinze and Miss Kenosha Willow Newell are expected to be on hand at Family Fun Day as well.

Several community resource organizations will join the fun on Saturday, including the Racine Public Library, Racine Fire Department, Racine Police Department, Cops ‘N Kids Reading Center, Peace Learning Circles, American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the Kiwanis Club of West Racine.

Celebrating a natural resource: the Root River

The Root River, which winds through a series of city parks, is the namesake for Racine and Racine County as “racine” is French for “root.”

Within the city, the Root River has several secluded stretches where wildlife – herons, turtles, muskrats and otters – can be spotted along the riverbank. Kayak and canoe rentals are available daily throughout the summer through the Root River Environmental Education Community Center (REC), 1301 W. Sixth St.

“This river is truly the heart of Racine,” Zulhke said. “The Root River is accessible to all to interact in a peaceful, positive way.”

Root River
The Root River, which winds through a network of city parks, offers quiet beauty. – Credit: Paul Holley

Another celebration in August

The Root River Council and the PRCS are co-sponsoring Music in Island Park on Saturday, Aug. 26. The event features a free concert by the Celtic Gypsies, an Irish folk band, from 4 to 7 p.m.

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Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...