New festival focusing on area waterways joins celebrations list

Ready for Huntington’s newest festival, Splash on the Wabash, are steering committee members (from left) Kandi Tom-Dunwiddie, Amy Pasko, Tina Bobilya, Ruth Marsh, Cheryl Jarrett and Lee Pasko.
Ready for Huntington’s newest festival, Splash on the Wabash, are steering committee members (from left) Kandi Tom-Dunwiddie, Amy Pasko, Tina Bobilya, Ruth Marsh, Cheryl Jarrett and Lee Pasko. Photo by Cindy Klepper.

A new festival, this one focusing on the waterways in and near Huntington, will join this summer's lineup of community celebrations.

Splash on the Wabash - more familiarly known as Splash Bash - will be held July 26, with water-focused activities taking place at the Roush Lake dam, downtown Huntington and the Forks of the Wabash Historic Park.

A related event will be held the following day on the Wabash River.

"One of the things we want people to do is recognize that we have these wonderful waterways going through town," says Tina Bobilya, director of the Huntington County Visitor & Convention Bureau, which is spearheading the event. "We want people to start using them."

The weekend will begin with a late-morning tube float down the Wabash River, beginning at the Roush Lake dam and ending at the Forks of the Wabash Historic Park.
It's about a two-hour ride, Bobilya says, and is a revival of a Boy Scout activity from years past.

The tube float will be a ticketed event, Bobilya says, and there will be some age restrictions for participants. Details are still being worked out.

Afternoon activities will move to the Little River at the Jefferson Street bridge, in Huntington, where participants can rent and try out canoes and kayaks. Water games and educational activities focusing on keeping the river healthy will also be held during the afternoon.

The day will end with a concert on the island between the twin bridges on Jefferson Street, Bobilya says. The band Island Vibe will perform Jimmy Buffet-style music.

The July 26 activities are being planned by a steering committee consisting of Bobilya, Debbie Dyer, Cheryl Jarrett, Ruth Marsh, Marvin McNew, Lee and Amy Pasko, Jim Scheiber, Kandi Tom-Dunwiddie and Paula Whiting.

Another local group, the New Sotterlee Project, will continue the water theme on July 27 with a canoe and kayak race or ride down the Wabash River. That event will begin at the Forks of the Wabash Historic Park and end in Lagro, a distance that normally takes about four hours on the water, Bobilya says.

Organizers plan to make Splash Bash an annual event, expanding each year to include additional activities.

Sponsorships are available for activities being held as part of this year's Splash Bash, as well as for the event itself.

In addition to the event sponsor, the steering committee is seeking sponsors for the Music Bash, the dam tube ride, entertainment, Family Fun Corner and riverbed.
Potential sponsors are asked to contact Whiting, sponsorship chair, at 356-5404 or paula.whiting@lakecitybank.com.

They may also contact Bobilya, the steering committee chair, at 359-8687 or tbobilya@visithuntington.org.
Updates on the festival can be found on Facebook by searching "Splash on the Wabash Huntington."