Last updated: July 24. 2013 1:47PM - 195 Views

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PDT Staff Writer

The 50th Annual River Days Festival is ready to begin today, with opening ceremonies at 5 p.m. The headline act this evening is Bo Bice, the fourth season American Idol runner-up to Carrie Underwood.

“We are looking forward to another successful, fun-filled River Days event, especially with this year being our 50th,” said event coordinator Trent Williams.

This year’s River Days Festival will begin with an invocation by Mayor David Malone, followed by the welcoming remarks by Williams. The Pledge of Allegiance and God Bless the USA will be presented by Josh Stewart, a 2012 Valley High School graduate and music education major at Marshall University. Stewart’s band Hidden Drive — with students from Valley High School — was played regularly on local radio. Now Stewart performs solo with the Josh Stewart Band.

The entertainment will begin 6 p.m. with the traditional opening act Steve Free, followed by a first time act from Wheelersburg/South Webster Terry Hall and the Dave Morrison Band.

Traditionally, the reigning Miss River Days would introduce the Little Miss/Tiny contestants and bring them onto the stage on the opening day, who would be Devan Schankweiler, Miss River Days, for 2012. However, due to the little pageant which will take place on the same night at 6 p.m. the little contestants will not go on the stage on Thursday evening, as they all will be competing at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts.

Bice will take the stage tonight at 9 p.m., and Williams predicts the show will draw hundreds to the riverfront. He said that he and the River Days planning committee are anticipating record numbers overall for this 5oth Annual River Days Festival.

“It should be a great night of free entertainment,” Williams said.

Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 234 or portiawilliams@heartlandpublications.com

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