THE SPECKTATOR

A Ruckus in the River

Local celebs take the plunge to promote the St. Johns

River Ruckus is a free, family-festival promoting the St. Johns River, July 6, noon-9 p.m. at Riverside Arts Market.
Source: riversideartsmarket.com
JIM ALABISO, executive director, JumpingFish, and long-distance, open-water swimmer

Have you been in the St. Johns River before? “Oh, yes. Hell, yes! We celebrated or 50th swim in the river June 26."

On a scale of 1-10, how nervous are you about the jump? “Nothing to be nervous about. Well, maybe I’m a bit nervous for those first timers!”

Source: jumpingfish.net
TONY ALLEGRETTI, Downtown advocate

Have you been in the SJR before? “I’ve been in years ago wake boarding but that was like a decade ago."

On a scale of 1-10, how nervous are you about the jump? “3”

Source: Tony Allegretti
TIM DEEGAN, chief meteorologist, First Coast News

Have you been in the SJR before? “Swam in it about 20 years ago in a triathlon.”

On a scale of 1-10, how nervous are you about the jump? “I can’t wait to get wet.”

Source: firstcoastnews.com
BRUCE HAMILTON, co-anchor, "The Morning Show," WJXT Channel 4

Have you been in the SJR before? “Yes, without a paddle! Oh, wait ... that's up the creek.”

On a scale of 1-10, how nervous are you about the jump? “Zero. I'm more nervous about someone of Tim Deegan's advanced age jumping in and focusing on my skills as a Red Cross senior lifeguard should I need to rescue him.”

KRISTIN KEEN, founder of ReThreaded

Have you been in the SJR before? “Only my feets.”

On a scale of 1-10, how nervous are you about the jump? “One. I am more nervous about people watching me jump in to the river!”

Source: rethreaded.com
AL LETSON, host of NPR's "State of the Re:UNION"

Have you been in the SJR before? “Once or twice”

On a scale of 1-10, how nervous are you about the jump? “10”

Source: stateofthereunion.com
JUSTIN RINEY:, founder/CEO of Mother Ocean and project lead for Expedition Florida 500

Note: Riney couldn't be reached for comment, mainly because he's been paddle boarding, kayaking and sailing on the river for the last six months as part of Expedition Florida 500. Suffice it to say, he's probably not too nervous about the jump.
Source: motherocean.org
DAVE ROMAN, senior policy adviser, Office of the Mayor

Have you been in the SJR before? “I swam a couple of the River Swims in the mid-1980s. ...I’ve also kayaked Downtown and in other spots on the river.

On a scale of 1-10, how nervous are you about the jump? “Zero, none at all. I’m more nervous about my lack of a tan and oversized belly.”

Source: facebook.com
JULIE WATKINS, meteorologist, Action News, and founder of The Girls Gone Green

Have you been in the SJR before? “Yes! Went skiing and wake boarding.”

On a scale of 1-10, how nervous are you about the jump? “I ain't scarrred."

Source: actionnewsjax.com
LEW TURNER, reporter/meteorologist, First Coast News News

Have you been in the SJR before? “Nope. Never."

On a scale of 1-10, how nervous are you about the jump? "Depends on this scale. Is 1 the most nervous? If it is, then I’m a 6. If 10 is the most nervous, I’m a 3. It makes sense ... I think."

Source: firstcoastnews.com
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Kerry Speckman shares her unique perspective and observations on people, places and events on the First Coast and beyond. She's also the 2012 winner of Jacksonville Dancing With the Stars, so she's got that going for her.

Contact Kerry by email or follow her on Twitter.

Have you ever made plans based on a local weather forecast and then wished you could tell [insert local meteorologist's name here] to go jump in the lake — or whatever body of water is closest — for "ruining" your day? If so, then you won't want to miss River Ruckus on July 6.

In conjunction with St. Johns Riverkeeper, Riverside Arts Market hosts this inaugural family-friendly festival to showcase the river's recreational benefits and the importance of respecting, protecting and enjoying it as a natural resource. In addition to a river flotilla, boat rides, paddle board lessons, river crafts for kids and educational information, River Ruckus features a celebrity river jump including three local weather "authorities":

  • Jim Alabiso, executive director, Jumping Fish, and long-distance, open-water swimmer
  • Tony Allegretti, Downtown advocate 
  • Tim Deegan, chief meteorologist, First Coast News
  • Bruce Hamilton, co-anchor, "The Morning Show," WJXT Channel 4
  • Kristin Keen, founder and executive director, ReThreaded
  • Al Letson, host, NPR's "State of the Re:UNION" 
  • Justin Riney, founder/CEO, Mother Ocean, and project leader, Expedition Florida 500
  • Dave Roman, senior policy adviser, Office of the Mayorc
  • Lewis Turner, reporter/meteorologist, First Coast News
  • Julie Watkins, meteorologist, Action News, and founder, The Girls Gone Green

The festivities get underway at noon with local celebrities set to take the plunge at 12:45 p.m. 

And in case anyone cares, I will be serving as emcee of the celebrity river jump. To those who don't care, I'll still be the emcee.

Check the photo gallery above to read what the river jump participants have to say about their participation. 

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