Portsmouth River Days set to begin

Published 10:54 am Monday, August 29, 2011

PORTSMOUTH — An all-inclusive fun festival is on deck by the Ohio River during the upcoming holiday weekend.

The 49th annual Portsmouth River Days festival begins Thursday and will continue through Sunday.

Variety is the theme in the festival, from the attractions to the food offerings.

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“We wanted to have a little bit of everything.” Kim Bauer, executive director for the Portsmouth-Scioto County Visitor’s Bureau and River Days parade chairman said, “This is a family-oriented event.”

In keeping with the family atmosphere, children’s activities will be offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at York Park. The list includes tricycle races, children’s Zumba, face painting, and Jenny Richards, naturalist from Shawnee Forrest.

Some of the foods available from vendors will include brisket and deep fried jalapeños.

“We wanted to make sure there aren’t five vendors selling pizza,” Bauer said. “A few fair foods like corn dogs, funnel cakes and cotton candy will double up but that’s it.”

The festival begins Thursday with opening ceremonies and introduction of the candidates for Miss River Days pageant starting at 5 p.m. Steve Free, local country musician who has had success worldwide will perform at 5:45 p.m. Rock band City Heat will perform at 7 p.m. followed by Firefall at 9 p.m.

Friday the festival will open at 5 p.m. The Band Union rose will perform at 6 p.m. Comedian Henry Allen will take the stage at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. In between Allen’s acts will be Larry Pancake, another local country singer at 7:30 p.m. Bucky Covington, a country singer and American Idol constant will finish the evening at 9:30 p.m.

Festivities begin early Saturday with the Grand Parade at 11 a.m. The route will start at Spartan Stadium and end at Tracy Park. Participants include 30 fair queens from other festivals around Ohio, the River Days Queen candidates, non-profit organizations and various others. Bauer said the length of the parade is approximately 7.5 miles.

Also taking place Saturday is the River Days Festival Queen pageant. Twelve girls will be competing for the title. The pageant will begin at 6 p.m. at the Vern Riffe Center.

The band Mighty Fine will begin the music at 6 p.m. Comedian Henry Allen will again perform twice, at 7:15 p.m. and 9 p.m. Then ‘80s rock cover band Midnight Special will perform at 7:45 p.m. Finishing out the line up is Survivor, who is best known for its arena rocking hit “Eye of the Tiger.”

Local soft rock band Shane Runion Band will kick off the music Sunday.

Doc Roc and the Remedies, a local eye doctor and band mates who covers rock songs will follow. The group will be making its ninth straight River Days appearance. Another cover band, Direct Energy will perform at 8 p.m. The fireworks display will be at 10 p.m. Direct Energy will make an encore at 10:30 p.m.

The festival will open at 4:30 p.m. Thursday and Sunday and at 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The festival will close at 11 p.m. the first three days and 11:30 p.m. Sunday.