The Festival for the Eno will continue Monday at Durham’s West Point on the Eno City Park along the Eno River, delighting nature lovers of all ages with a crowded fairground of cool treats and cooler tunes.
EnoFest always draws thousands, with some longtime attendees returning as vendors and performers. Proceeds from the annual festival, now in its 43rd year, go to the Eno River Association, a nonprofit focused on conservation efforts along the river.
“The vibe is beautiful,” Jim Stubanas, a five-year festival volunteer, said Saturday while manning a compost station on the festival’s first day. “Everyone is celebrating and coming back to nature, getting away from their TVs.”
This year’s ambitious lineup features more than 60 hours of music across four stages, with 34 artists still to come.
Chapel Hill band Mellow Swells has performed at the shady, calm River Stage for a few years. This year they were invited to the lively main Meadow Stage, where patrons will groove and clap to nine more artists Monday.
EnoFest performers always enjoy a lively reception, vocalist and keyboardist Jonas Bell said, sometimes debuting new songs.
“You know what you’re getting,” said Bell, 25, a Chapel Hill native and lifelong attendee. “You get to really just bounce and bounce and bounce and always see someone dope.”
Along the tent-lined paths between the four festival stages, everything from jewelry to ceramics will be available for sale Monday.
“Durham has changed a lot over the years, but I feel like the festival has stayed the same,” said lifelong attendee and first-time vendor Jessica Simon. The Durham resident’s recycled paper roses have been a popular souvenir.
Attendees can cool down with a snack from LocoPops, Fahsyrah’s Fresh Squeezed Lemonade and other food vendors, served in compostable containers. Combo plates from Jamaica Jamaica were a popular lunch on day one.
Between bites and bops, some of the booths connecting the four stages are interactive, with snakes, turtles and bees on display. Make sure to save some time for a dip in the river itself, where River Stage artists can be heard from the water.
The festival spotlights local wildlife every year. This time, all eyes are on the damselfly. The dragonfly relative is featured as a giant sand sculpture and on merchandise designed by Durham-based artist Gabriel Eng-Goetz.
Eng-Goetz, who also grew up attending the festival, looked through EnoFest poster archives from the 1970s and 1980s for inspiration.
“Just to be able to go into their office and essentially enter a time warp going back decades,” Eng-Goetz said, “I was geeking out the whole time.”
What to know
Saturday’s heat is set to continue into Monday, with a high of 92 degrees. Don’t forget your hat, sunscreen and water, and plan to arrive early if you want to stake out a shady spot near the main stage. Plus, check out the misting station near the Meadow Stage.
EnoFest will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, with tickets available on EventBrite. A day pass is $35 for adults, $10 for kids 17 and under and free for kids under 4.
Festival parking is available off-site at the Durham County stadium, 750 Stadium Dr., Durham. Air-conditioned buses will travel continuously between the stadium and the festival grounds from 9:30 am until 6:30 pm, though some street parking is available near the festival entrance on the river’s west bank.
Keep in mind that the festival doesn’t include bottle-filling stations and its affiliated beverage stands are cash-only, though most vendors on site accept Apple Pay. You can bring your own coolers with food and water, but cannot bring in alcoholic beverages.