FORT DRUM, N.Y. (June 28, 2019) -- "Have fun storming the castle!"

Yeah, that's bound to be heard once or twice during Riverfest, as thousands of Fort Drum Soldiers and family members took an hourlong guided boat tour along the St. Lawrence River and explored historic Boldt Castle on Heart Island.

The Fort Drum Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation staff was out in full force June 28 to welcome everyone to Alexandria Bay, where they could enjoy games, a rock-climbing wall and a lunch of grilled burgers, hot dogs and other treats, while waiting to take the voyage.

"Riverfest is all about getting Soldiers and families from Fort Drum out in the community and exploring Alexandria Bay, and getting to enjoy this wonderful summer day together," said Sharon Addison, Fort Drum FMWR director.

Addison said that roughly 4,600 tickets were sold ahead of the event, but people also could purchase them at the event.

"We're just looking forward to a fun, busy day," she said.

Spc. Connor Russell has attended Riverfest three times, and this is his second year taking the boat ride.

"I enjoy having the day off from work," said the Black Hawk mechanic from 277th Aviation Support Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade. "I like it all - the boat ride, the food, the people. I'm from California, and we don't have events like this in my area. We mainly go camping."

Russell arrived long before the boat left the dock and was among the first in line.

"That's because I don't like standing in lines," he said. "That's the main reason. Plus, there's less of a crowd so you can see all the stores pretty quickly before everyone gets here."

He had Pfc. Jeremy Pomberg, also from 277th ASB, to keep him company. Pomberg has only been stationed at Fort Drum for a few months, and this was his first chance to visit some of the North Country.

"I thought the boat and castle tour would be interesting," he said. "It's definitely something different to see."