James Manning of Albany, N.Y. looks very serious as he paints the face of Collin Morrison, 5, of Cossayuna on Saturday afternoon during the Battenkill Runs
James Manning of Albany, N.Y. looks very serious as he paints the face of Collin Morrison, 5, of Cossayuna on Saturday afternoon during the Battenkill Runs Through It Festival held in Greenwich. (Holly Pelczynski/Bennington Banner/photos.benningtonbanner.com)

GREENWICH, N.Y. -- The Battenkill Conservancy held its fourth annual "The Battenkill Runs Through It" festival on Saturday at the town of Greenwich's 2.2-acre park and public beach that accesses the Battenkill River.

The festival is the conservancy's primary event for publicity and volunteer recruitment, which has attracted around 200 people or less in previous years. Nonprofit manager and conservancy member Lorraine Ballard said the event has grown from year to year, with Saturday having been the largest turnout.

Ballard said 268 tickets were sold, which included roughly 100 complimentary tickets given out to entertainers and volunteers. The turnout was even greater, but ticket sales stopped once food ran low.

"Traditionally, this park is only open six weeks a year because there has to be a lifeguard on staff at the beach," Ballard said. "We are trying to have the town make it more accessible and open for longer (whether or not the beach is open)."

There are roughly 250 active members of the Battenkill Conservancy, who will do anything from carrying out the conservancy's new corridor connections project, to taking samples for water quality tests for the state Department of Economic Development.

"Our membership has grown dramatically over the last couple of years," said conservancy director Stu Bartow. "I think this sort of thing keeps us more visible. If you don't do anything people don't know you exist. If they don't know you exist, you don't have members. We're the organization you can turn to if you have some concerns about activity on the river."

The conservancy presents the community citizen award at the festival every year to a conservancy member for watershed conservation or community participation. This year, the award was presented by New York Sen. Betty Little, R-45th district, to Sally Tefft. Tefft was awarded for her nearly 75 years of community service and her recognition of the Battenkill River as one of the area's most important natural resources.

Tefft ran the Greenwich Journal Salem Press for several years, and served as publisher emeritus during the paper's transition to new ownership. She wrote a poem about the Battenkill that she shared during the festival.

Twenty upstream kayakers paddled into the Greenwich town beach to receive free lunch and join music, entertainment and activities at the festival.

Boy Scout Troop 62 setup educational river activities and an obstacle course. Boneyard Barbecue, Spoonful Catering and Village Cafe catered the event.

DJ Dave Michaels from WEXT, 97.7 FM emceed the festival accompanied by five live "Local 518" bands who put on blues and bluegrass music.

The conservancy will hold its annual "Give Back by Taking Out" river cleanup on Sunday, June 8 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. along the Battenkill River in Cambridge, N.Y., 1414 N.Y. Route 313.

Contact Tom Momberg at tmomberg@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomMomberg