The Stillaguamish Tribe and community members celebrated 30 years of the Festival of the River at this year's event on Aug. 10 and 11.

The annual festival brings national and regional music acts to the River Meadows County Park along with Native American dancers from all around the region.

"I enjoy seeing the powwow and the music. That's what drives the majority of the people here. We try to get good acts and the powwow continues to grow," said Pat Stevenson, environment program manager with the Stillaguamish Tribe and one of the main organizers of the festival.

In addition to the free music, community members were able to learn about the local watershed and the Stillaguamish River.

The festival actually began with an environmental grant to help the community learn about the environment.

"This is to educate the local citizens about water quality and salmon habitat and the culture of the tribe," said Stevenson.

Kids activities and crafts provide locals a good way to get engaged in environmental education at the festival.

Locals at the festival said they liked coming each year to a family event.

"I think it's really good. We come every year," said local parent Lindsay Ivey. "It's for the kids really."

Local parent Dennis Steele also said that he has come to the festival many times before.

"It's just a good, wholesome family environment," he said.

Stevenson said that people enjoyed having a family music event near Arlington.

"It's a drug and alcohol free event. We try to make it family friendly and I think families appreciate it," he said.

This year's event went good as well, said Stevenson.

"It's going really good. All the issues have been minor … everybody seems to be having a good time and the rain has stopped," he said.

In recognition of the 30th year of the festival the parking was free this year. The entrance has been free every year for the festival and the event is paid for by the Stillaguamish Tribe.

"It is a gift from the tribe to the community. It's a free event and they bring in all the music," said Stevenson.

Many of the festival coordinators were excited that they reached 30 years for the festival.

"I've been doing this since the first one back 30 years ago," said Stevenson.

"Everybody is pretty excited about the fact that it has made it to 30 years and continues to grow. We'll see what happens in year 31," he said.

For the future, some organizers are considering having the national acts play elsewhere to bring back a small community feel to the festival, Stevenson said.

"There's some discussion of having some of the national acts play at the casino instead of here so this is more of a local festival with regional acts," said Stevenson.

More information about the local festival is available at festivaloftheriver.com.

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