Princeton’s Fresh Water Festival

By Camille Howard


Sandra Smith and Amanda Riser. (Submitted photo).

The Fresh Water Festival was held this weekend in Princeton. Put on by the Princeton Parks and Recreation Department, the festival was the first of its kind— sort of. The original festival began 20 years ago, but this was a revival of the event. It began on Friday evening with a game of community kickball, and continued through Saturday morning and into the evening with a community dinner at the Princeton Rod and Gun Club.

The festival took place at the Brewer Andrews Field on West Street, where local vendors and businesses had booths where visitors could buy raffle tickets, snacks, and local trinkets. One of the prizes was a gorgeous canoe, made by local artisan Dale Tobey. The Princeton Library was present selling books, and food vendors were selling pizza, hot dogs, and strawberry shortcake.

For younger attendees, there was a petting zoo with ponies, ducks, goats, bunnies, and even a pig. Saturday morning, before the main festival took off, there was a Shirt-Tale parade for the children to parade in their nicest costumes. Children’s games took place for the rest of the morning, so there was plenty of fun to be had. The Princeton Fire Department brought two of its firetrucks on display from their new firehouse, and in the afternoon they did a demonstration of how they tear down a car that has been in an accident. After the demonstration, volunteer fire chief Tony Ramsdell took a seat over the dunk tank.

The festival started off with a 5K race. This was the first organized race run on this particular course, with three different categories: a 1-mile race for Kids, won by Eliza Jack with a time of 8:29; a 2-mile walking race, won by Susan Murphy with a time of 22:19; and the main event, the 3 mile race, won by Andrei Ford with a time of 22:10. “Since it’s a new course, it’s a new course record!” commented race organizer Ernest Carle. Other events included a basketball shootout and a blueberry pie eating contest.

The festival’s goal was to emphasize the community of Princeton and bring the town together for a day of fun. One of the organizers of the event, Amanda Newman-Riser, was born and raised in Princeton but now lives out of state. She came all the way back to the small town to help with the event. “The town has my heart,” she commented, “We needed a fundraiser for the town, and we decided we would bring back the Fresh Water Festival which is something very near and dear to our hearts, because our grandmother was one of the founders of the festival twenty-something years ago.” She also commented that the committee that organized the event focuses on bringing people into the community of Princeton, as well as making more activities available for kids in the area.

The afternoon began with the recognition of the members of Princeton’s board of directors, who were instrumental to organizing the event that marked the weekend. Chairman of the board, Scott Carle, spoke about how the event is an opportunity to bring the community closer together. “I hope that it grows the community, and that people who see each other here take that away and enjoy the fellowship outside of this event.”


Over the weekend, the community of Princeton came together for a celebration of summer, of their past, and of their future. Folks from home and away had a great time, enjoying the summer sun and the sense of community. “You’ve gotta come home to get that feeling,” Newman-Riser commented, “And now I have a reason to come home.”