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Young boy looks at crawfish

North Richmond festival celebrates shoreline, open space

on October 8, 2012

Three-year-old Khomauri William had just discovered a giant fish tank filled with koi, turtles and one big wild goldfish and was bouncing up and down the length of the 1,500-gallon tank, pointing and calling to his grandfather, Everrett Webb.

“It’s a shark!” he said.

The aquarium on wheels was set up by the East Bay Regional Park District for the seventh North Richmond Shoreline Festival, held Saturday at Point Pinole to celebrate the area’s ecology and culture.

With the shining San Pablo Bay in the background, hundreds of visitors mingled over a free barbecue lunch and live music as a colorful train schlepped young kids up and down the wide-open picnic area.

Whitney Dotson, Richmond’s board member for the EBRPD, who helped start the festival with the North Richmond Shoreline Open Space Alliance, called the day a success, although the packed schedule of events in San Francisco led to a smaller turnout than previous years.

“This is what we envisioned,” Dotson said.

The Shoreline Festival began in 1996, when Dotson and others were working to get a center for public health established in North Richmond and promote physical activity. The group walked from Wildcat Creek to Breuner Marsh, then to Point Pinole for a barbecue.

The festival also had a strong showing of local conservation groups and community groups. City Council candidates had a chance to speak on stage. Mayor Gayle McLaughlin participated in a Caribbean-inspired rhythm workshop.

Jeberiah Moore, 12, who spent the day at the festival with members of Richmond’s Boy Scout Troop 2, could be seen hanging out up front in a fire truck.

“They let me sit in the fire truck because they thought I was cool because I was in uniform,” he said.

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