Harpeth Conservancy’s 19th Annual River Swing set records for attendance and money raised, according to a recent announcement by Dorene (Dorie) Bolze, president and CEO of the science-based river conservation organization.
Bolze said more than 1,000 supporters attended the event Sept. 17 at River Circle Farm in Franklin. After tabulating proceeds from ticket sales, corporate sponsorships and the silent auction, she said the total amount raised exceeded $375,000, a growth of more than $100,000.
“This a huge boost to our efforts to ensure clean water for everyone and healthy ecosystems for rivers across Tennessee,” Bolze said. “Each year, our rivers and their habitats are challenged by more and more issues, so our work is critical to preserving the waters that make this area unique. The rivers in the Southeast are the third-most aquatically biodiverse in the world. Tennessee’s waterways also provide recreation and transportation as well as are the source of drinking water to over 3.5 million people.”
This was the sixth year that Christian Currey chaired the event. He made a significant commitment to the event this year with the installation of River Swing Way, a service road that allows the event to happen regardless of the weather. Under the supervision of advisory board member Phil Pace of The Conseco Group, and with the leadership and support of Civil Constructors, a 250-foot commercial grade road was installed to meet over the road commercial standards. In addition to Civil Constructors, GIBCO, Vulcan Materials and The Rogers Group all donated their services for the infrastructure of the event.
“We know first-hand the damage water can cause to our roadways when not properly designed, so we support Harpeth Conservancy and were proud to create a short, needed service road with proper run-off design for River Swing,” said Joe Rodgers, president of Civil Constructors.
More than 50 companies supported the event as sponsors led by FarmVet and Leslie and Jimmy Liautaud as presenting sponsors. Waltrip Automotive Group was the Automotive sponsor displaying three vehicles at the event and Brown Forman was a River Champion sponsor.
Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant provided appetizers and a buffet dinner. Beverages were provided by Lipman Brothers, and Bill Forrester’s team stocked and staffed the bars that included a special Watermelon Splash featuring Finlandia vodka. A new addition this year was an upgraded whiskey bar that featured products from Jack Daniel’s, Happenstance, O.H. Ingram River Aged Whiskey, Old Hickory Whiskey and Bourbon and Sweetens Cove.
The silent auction was expansive with 162 packages including two tickets for all three days of Widespread Panic at Red Rocks in 2023, a chainsaw from TriGreen that sold for $25,000, an autographed guitar from Mötley Crüe by lead singer and River Swing attendee Vince Neil.
Table decorations were rocks from the Harpeth with floating candles keeping water and rivers literally at the center of the event. Event direction was from Garden Delights Fine Florists and AmosEvents. Other features included hand-rolled cigars from Atomic Cigars, hats from HuckHats and the return of the popular Brownlee Lounge area.
As in past years, River Swing was planned to be environmentally friendly. EcoProducts donated renewable and compostable sugarcane plates. Volunteers from Vanderbilt’s S.P.E.A.R. program, Montgomery Bell Academy and throughout the area managed the WM and The Compost Company bins for recycling and composting. The Compost Company removed all of the compostable material. Almost 1,000 gallons of glass and an 8-yard container of cardboard, aluminum and plastic were recycled from the event.
The highlight of the evening was music by five-time Grammy Award winner Keb’ Mo’, along with music from Trevor Clark Trio, The Bluff and The Sweet Lillies for an impromptu after-party.
Visit www.harpethconservancy.org for more information on the organization.