Why does life seem so much richer when a river runs through it, especially in the summertime?
Healdsburg City Councilman Shaun McCaffery, who has traveled the Russian River from the Alexander Valley Bridge to the Pacific Ocean by canoe, kayak and innertube, frames his answer in simple, basic terms: "Water is the ultimate in recreation. You can float and travel with little or no effort. And it cools you off when you're hot."
And when you get to the river, you'll find yourself in fun-loving company. As John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival sang in "Proud Mary" back in 1966, "If you come down to the river, bet ya gonna find some people who live."
Two of Sonoma County's most beloved summer festivals invite folks to gather by two different rivers this month — first on July 20 on the Petaluma River for the Rivertown Revival, and then on July 27 on the Russian River for the Healdsburg Water Carnival.
"I think bodies of water connect to us each other, to other people and places, and to our own history," said Kelin Backman, one of the founders of Petaluma's Rivertown Revival, now in its fourth year.