PDT Staff Writer
Time flies when you’re having fun. River Days is celebrating 50 years as an annual event that draws some 60,000 people to Scioto County for four days of entertainment, arts and crafts, all sorts of food, and rides on the midway.
“We’re trying to find all of the past chairmen who are still around in the area and bring them back in,” River Days Chairman Trent Williams said. “We think we can get a hold of them to get them to be here as part of the 50th anniversary of River Days.”
Williams said the committee is in the process of assembling a list to then try to make contact with those chairmen. He said anyone with information about chairmen in individual years can call Vice-President and General Secretary Teresa Bratton at 740-357-5059. Williams said Bratton is the go-to person for any River Days questions, except for the River Days Pageant and the River Days Parade. Trish Dingus heads up the pageant committee and can be reached at 740-464-4291 for pageant applications, and Kim Bauer who is overseeing the parade, can be reached at 740-353-1116 for parade applications.
“We’re limited as to how extravagant we can make it, but the fireworks, scheduled for Sept. 2, are going to be extra special this year,” Williams said. “Bigger and better than they have ever been in honor of the 50th year. Fireworks here on the Fourth of July were wonderful, and we’re going to try to top that if we can.”
This years’s biggest entertainment attraction, scheduled for 9 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 30, is Bo Bice, runner-up to Carrie Underwood on season four of American Idol, whose third album “3” is his strongest record to date. Bo and his wife Caroline welcomed their third child, Ean Jacob, this past January, and after three years of a few health scare’s Bo now has a clean bill of health. It is Bice’s third album.
“Don’t forget, it’s also Dale Earnhardt’s number,” Bice said. “That’s another good reason to call it ‘3’. Besides, you can’t name your fifth album ‘3’ - people will wonder if you can count.”
Williams said it has been his practice to open up River Days to more local talent. In the past he has had a local act open for the headliner, and this year that has been expanded to two opening acts.
As has been the tradition on Thursday night, Steve Free will kick off the festival’s entertainment at 5:45 p.m., followed by one of the hottest country bands in the region - Terry Hall and the Dave Morrison Band, leading into Bice’s show.
On Friday, Aug. 31, the Dwain Messer Band will kick things off at 6 p.m., followed by Savannah Jack at 7:30 p.m., and the headliner - Josh Thompson at 9:30 p.m., whose current hit is “Comin’ Around,” is riding the charts.
Saturday, Sept. 1, The winner and the runner-up band from this year’s “Rally For Recovery,” Battle of the bands, will both perform, beginning at 6 p.m., followed by The Reaganomics at 7:30 p.m., and the headline act - “Night Ranger,” at 9:30 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 2, will begin with the Shane Runion Band at 5 p.m.; Doc Rock & The Remedies at 6:30 p.m. and Direct Energy at 8 p.m. The fireworks will begin at 1o p.m., and Direct Energy will return to finish the night’s and week’s entertainment.
The pageant will again be divided between two nights.
“Everything from the baby pageant all the way up to junior high, that’s probably six or seven different age divisions, will be held on Thursday night beginning at 6 p.m. so that we don’t have everything happening on Saturday,” Williams said. “Then you have the Miss River Days Pageant that starts about 6 p.m. on Saturday.”
That morning is also the time for the Grand River Days Parade, a well over 400 unit parade that lasts for about two-and-a-half hours, stepping off from Spartan Municipal Stadium at 11 a.m. The River Days Parade is the largest daytime parade in Ohio.
“We also have a market place with arts and crafts,” Bratton said. “We need crafters. If someone wants to have crafts at River Days they can call Phyllis Rice at 740-821-4025 or Mattie Ruttman at 740-250-8731.”
“We’re always working on improvements. Not just for the fiftieth, ” Williams said. “We have attended other festivals to see what they are doing, and to see if they are doing the same thing we are but in a different way or a better way. We’re always trying to find better ways to do River Days.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at email@example.com.