The 5th annual RiverFest 2013—a free public event in Bonita Springs—recently took place at Riverside Park, highlighting the natural beauty of the Imperial River. The event included a 2-mile race down the Imperial River, the Great Florida Quacker rubber duck race, a butterfly release ceremony, live entertainment and a fish fry.
More than anything, the natural beauty of Bonita Springs was celebrated. Embraced by the popular Imperial River Challenge, the annual RiverFest event featured canoe, kayak, K-1, surf ski and stand up paddleboard races set at historic Liles Hotel Plaza near the Imperial River. Located at Riverside Park in the historic downtown area of Bonita Springs, the event was on U.S. 41 and Pennsylvania Avenue. There was also live music, food, and Fall-themed children’s arts and crafts activities. Race participants in the 2-mile river race traced the path traveled by Calusa Indians who originally settled in Bonita Springs. The proceeds from RiverFest’s Imperial River Challenge benefited Waterways Conservation Fund in keeping with RiverFest’s philosophy of eco-tourism and sustainability.
The Imperial River is a creek 9 miles long, and winds through Bonita Springs into Estero Bay on the Gulf of Mexico. The water is clear enough that you can spy fish, turtles, and manatees. Across the river, you can find the Everglades Wonder Gardens, which is a beautiful botanical garden. Natural beauty abounds in Bonita Springs. In addition to the Imperial River, the Riverside Trail enables nature lovers to walk through the woods near the Imperial River. There are many species of wildlife that can be glimpsed along the trail, like wild turkeys, woodpeckers, river otters and raccoons. The trail is shaded by a canopy of palm trees and oak trees. Cypress trees line the riverbank and in the waterway.
Living in a community along the Imperial River is a dream come true for many that love the unspoiled old Florida feel of this natural waterway. Bonita Springs communities located along the Imperial River include: Bonita Farms, Brendan Cove, Imperial Shores, Pirates Cove and River Reach Estates.