When you think of an old western town, does a single dirt road and shootouts between bow-legged cowboys come to mind?  How about a river?  The Animas River, which gushes (this time of year) through the heart of downtown Durango, is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.  From gentle splashes to wet and fun rapids, there’s something for everyone.

Animas River Days, created in 1982, is a way for the town to celebrate its beloved river.  Taking place this year from May 28- 31, spectators can check out many exciting events.  The weekend celebration will kick off on Thursday with a film night at The Smiley Building.  Doors open at 5:30, with the event beginning at 6:30.  Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door.

On Friday, the fun will move over to Santa Rita Park, where surf competition prelims and kayak freestyle competition prelims will take place.  These competitions will start at 4:00 and conclude around 7:30.

Saturday is the biggest day of the weekend, with nearly 12 hours of river events.  A favorite is the River Parade, which is from 5- 6:30.  Costumed rafters and decorated boats take on the whitewater park at Santa Rita Park.  A flipped boat or near misses are almost guaranteed in this event.  Parking is limited, so plan ahead!  Also, make sure to bring a camera, sunscreen, and lots of water.

If you want to learn more about rafting or kayaking, consider joining one of the many clinics offered on Sunday.  This is a great opportunity for you to perfect your kayaking or rafting techniques.

If you want to take part as a competitor during the festivities, there is some important info for you to know.  Registration will be open up to 30 minutes before an event is to begin.  All competitors will have to attend a competition meeting 15 minutes before the event begins.  Prizes will be handed out during the competitions, so be sure to stick around to see what is being awarded.

Have you ever wanted to take part in the River Parade, but haven’t due to the lack of a boat?  X Rock and Mild to Wild want to help you complete this life goal.  Stop by Mild to Wild’s office, 50 Animas View Drive, and fill out one of the contest forms at the front desk.  X Rock will be randomly selecting 14 people to take on the river, and you could be one of them.

For a complete list of events, start times, locations, or other information, visit www.animasriverdays.org.