The Xtinguish Torch Fest
Celebrating along the Cuyahoga River Water Trail! Join the regional commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the famed 1969 Cuyahoga River Fire as our waterway comes together in solidarity around our shared waterway!
100 miles of beauty!
Scroll to take the route of the Torch Fest from the Headwaters to Mouth of the mighty Cuyahoga River!
Geauga Park District
A Native American Water Blessing, performed by the Lake Erie Native American Council, will kick-off the Xtinguish Torch Fest. Ceremonial blessings and Native American drums shall honor the region for which the “Cuyahoga” (translated to be crooked River) was named by the indigenous. West Creek Conservancy, and the Xtinguish partnership, is also working with regional coordinators of the celebration of Juneteenth (a portmanteau of June Nineteenth) which is the celebration of Black emancipation—specifically in the state of Texas, on June 19, 1865. With this will also honor African Culture through libation ceremonies and drum circles.
This ceremony will continue as a walk extending to the entire 100 mile stretch of the Cuyahoga River led by Sharon Day, Ojibwe water walker from Minnesota with the terminus being in Cleveland on June 22nd Hosted by the Cleveland Press Room and sponsored by the Cleveland Foundation’s Creative Fusion project.
We, as coordinators of the festival series, wanted to keep this day independent from the press events and locality celebratory events to give the blessings the respect and honor they deserve. This may not be the flashiest or publicly high profile event of the weekend, but it is our opinion that it is the most important.
The first stop on the Xtinguish Torch Fest
City of Kent
Main Street Bridge by Franklin Mills Riveredge Park
Presented by The Portage Foundation, the first Festival in the series is held in beautiful Downtown Kent! Beginning at 4:00 pm the festival will include art installations, food trucks, and live music with musical acts such as Hal Walker, Alex Bevan, the Chardon Polka Band, and more!
A ‘Passing of the Torch’ ceremony will begin at 6:00 pm in Heritage Park and include community members, local officials, environmental groups, kayakers, and others. This ceremony will culminate with the unveiling and dedication of a commemorative relief as well as highlight the Cuyahoga River as a national Water Trail!
Sponsors for this event include the City of Kent, Kent Parks & Recreation Department, Hometown Bank, Kent Environmental Council, The Davey Tree Expert Company and Portage Country Storm Water District.
Presented by City of Kent
The second stop on the Xtinguish Torch Fest
City of Cuyahoga Falls
Join us on June 21, 2019 from 11a to 2p for the Xtinguish Torchfest event, which will be a family-friendly celebration of Cuyahoga Falls’ rich river heritage! A host of activities are planned for the event including a complimentary hot dog lunch, live band, games, and educational stations that will not disappoint. The event is free and will take place rain or shine at Water Works Park, 2025 Munroe Falls Avenue, Cuyahoga Fall, OH 44221.
Highlighting another economic and ecological asset within Cuyahoga Falls, and in celebration of the River, the City of Cuyahoga Falls is also hosting an evening Xtinguish concert Downtown on the river at 6pm on June 21st, 2019! Come join the community as we come together in solidarity around our shared waterway. There will be food, libations, music and fun on the banks of the mighty Cuyahoga.
The third stop on the Xtinguish Torch Fest
City of Akron/ Cascade Valley Metro Park
In partnership with Akron Waterways Renewed, the Torch Fest will make a stop at the Cascade Valley Metro Park in the Summit Metro Parks for the City of Akron’s annual celebration (formerly dubbed the Blue Heron Homecoming). The Festival Runs from 10am-3pm. The Torch will run through at approximately 1pm for a press event and ceremony.
Included in this event will be variety of events, including:
Free Rain Barrels
Augmented Reality Sandbox
Fishing and Kayak demonstrations
Hands-on exhibits with our sponsors
The Book Mobile
Walking tours of the Gorge Dam
An exciting aspect to this festival is the “Eco’s Enviro Party” including larger hands-on exhibits. That will be a special section of the event where kids (and adults) will go through several different stations with hand-on activities to help them understand the importance of water quality and how we achieve it. The Torch Fest will be incorporated at 1pm on the main stage for the local press event, “passing of the torch ceremony”, and highlighting of the cultural significance of the space and how the river shaped the culture of Akron.
June 21st at 2:30 PM
The fourth stop on the Xtinguish Torch Fest
Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP)
Station Road Bridge Trailhead
All are welcome to celebrate with CVNP. Park and partner staff, National Park Service leadership, and many volunteers will welcome the torch to Station Road Bridge Trailhead with fanfare! There will be a very special musical guest, a dedication of the coming Cuyahoga River Water Trail, an unveiling of the Return to the River heron statue, and a performance by Wick Poetry Center. We’ll also be celebrating 25 years of watershed education in the park, and nearly 50 years of restoration work.
The torch procession will leave Station Road at 3:30.
We suggest registering on Eventbrite (coming) and coming early, as parking will be limited.
CVNP was created in 1974, 5 years after the 1969 fire. Since then, the National Park Service (NPS) has been working to take care of and restore almost a quarter of the river and over 800 square miles of the watershed. The park encompasses 33,000 acres between Cleveland and Akron. It exists for and is owned by the American people. A new central visitor center right next to the river is opening later in 2019.
Station Road Bridge Trailhead is where the Rt. 82 Canal Diversion Dam will soon be removed, and where NPS will be working with partners on watershed restoration and riverbank stabilization projects, and installing new stormwater management underground chambers.
The Terminus of the Xtinguish Torch Fest
Share The River’s “Blazing Paddles”
The Terminus of the Torch Fest “Passing of the Torch” festival series is incorporated into Share The River’s Blazing Paddles. Blazing Paddles is a standup paddleboard race, canoe & kayak celebration held on the Cuyahoga River, a historic body of water that’s risen like a phoenix from its ecological low-point in 1969. You’ll be on a curvy, 5.7-mile urban course that flows past a unique mix of riverfront sites where iconic pyramids of sand and stone stand in contrast to paved paths and green-spaces. The scenic course with sweeping views of downtown Cleveland will take you under 10 bridges spanning the river before you reach the turnaround point – THE location of the 1952 Cuyahoga River fire, the infamous image that’s often used as a visual stand-in for the much smaller June 22, 1969 fire.
Blazing Paddles’ turnaround point at the former Jefferson St. bridge serves as a physical metaphor for the turnaround of the Cuyahoga River and the turnaround our nation’s relationship with its national resources. The ’69 fire helped launch America’s environmental movement. When you participate in Blazing Paddles on Cleveland’s historic river, you’ll be reminding the nation of the great things that happen when our natural resources are protected.
Along with the terminus location of the Torch Fest, this stage will also mark the “official” dedication of the ODNR Designation of the Cuyahoga River Water Trail! Come be a part of this historic and transformative celebration as it unfolds. It will truly be a script for history to look back at as we showcase the regional assets of the 100 mile Cuyahoga River and all that our culture has to offer to the world.