May is when Michiganders start enjoying the St. Joseph River. The “St. Joe” has a good flow and a variety of challenges to make it a fun day for a canoe trip in Southern Michigan. The watershed rises in Hillsdale County near Baw Beese Lake and runs from South to North through Hillsdale, Jonesville, and Litchfield. It is sometimes confused with the other St. Joseph River of the eastward-flowing Maumee Watershed that rises just five miles away and flows to the East.
May 20-22 is the weekend for Riverfest in Jonesville. The weekend kicks off on Friday night with a 2 man triathlon. The race begins with a runner, who tags off to a biker, who rejoins the runner in a 2 person canoe to finish the race. This event is followed by a full weekend of competition including more canoe races and a 3 on 3 basketball tournament–all of which are open to the public. Canoes are available for hire. Just sign up to compete in the class of your choice.
Other things to do at Jonesville Riverfest include a Classic Car Show (also featuring motorcycles), Museum Tours, Sidewalk Sale, along with Arts & Crafts. There are street vendors, a pancake breakfast, a sidewalk sale, the Fire Department BBQ, plus demonstrations by cloggers and local artists. On Saturday night there will be live music in the alley under the pavillion at Saucy Dog’s featuring local band, STD (Silver Tongued Devils).
Sunday hosts the Fireman’s Waterball competition and the Domestic Harmony Duck Derby with cash and prizes for the lucky winners. The Munro House B&B is located a block from the downtown festivities and 2 blocks from the canoe race finish line. Special rates are in effect for people who spend the weekend in Jonesville.