Friends of Portsmouth releasing River Days event schedule


PORTSMOUTH- Portsmouth’s premier festival organization, Friends of Portsmouth, is ready to light up their sound stage, lay out the red carpet for the pageants, welcome vendors of all varieties, and line people up for another successful parade to celebrate River Days once again, only recently releasing a schedule of events that pack the regularly scheduled weekend with things for families to do.

The group is known for hosting large festivals and events, from record-breaking achievements to Winterfest, Glocktoberfest and Festifall to Fourth of July and River Days. The group stays active all year long developing opportunities for downtown Portsmouth and the surrounding region.

River Days has been scheduled for August 30 through September 1 and will feature rides and games, merchants, food trucks and vendors, live music, a parade, the River Days Queen Pageant and more.

“River Days is about community. The parade, pageant; everything is about the community. It brings a lot of people out and visitors to the area,” Friends of Portsmouth Executive Director Bryan Smith said.

The music will feature Josh Stewart Band on Friday, between 7 and 8:30 p.m., as well as The Party Bus Band between 9 and 10:30 p.m. Saturday will feature Gimme Sugar, a Rolling Stones tribute band, between 7 and 8:30 p.m., and Little River Band between 9 and 10:30 p.m. Sunday will wrap up music lineups with Rock This Way, an Aerosmith tribute band, between 6:30 and 8 p.m., as well as Chris Higbee between 8:30 and 10:15 p.m.

The events kick off, however, with the annual Rotary Fish Fry on the Esplanade between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday.

The Opening Ceremony and Introduction of River Days Contestants will be held on Friday between 5 and 5:30 p.m.

Family Feud will be organized just before the Friday concerts, between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.

Saturday starts with a splash, featuring the Annual River Days Parade at 11 a.m. and the River Days Pageant contestant float contest between 1 and 3:30 p.m.

Toy Story will be the Saturday outdoor movie, alongside popcorn, between 2 and 4 p.m.

The Miss River Days Pageant will be held at Shawnee State University at 6:30 p.m., which will crown another Miss River Days for another year.

Sunday will feature plenty with Candyland Children’s Museum activities scheduled between 2 and 4 p.m. Cars will be projected outdoors between 4 and 6 p.m. A hot dog eating contest is organized for 3:30. The Miss River Days Queen and Court will be introduced at 5 p.m., just before the 5:30 launch of the Ducky Derby. Fireworks will end the night at 10 p.m.

Monday will feature FLOTSAM Floating Circus at the Court Street Landing at 6 p.m.

All musical acts and main attractions will continue to be held at the Municipal Lot on the corner of Washington and 4th Streets.

“The goal is to get back to the riverfront eventually, but we are a couple years from that, until the City can complete some of their exciting riverfront developments,” Smith explained.

While the event continues to be off river, Smith said that there is plenty to do, and the event only continues to grow.

“We have stuff going on each day, not just music and food truck vendors,” Smith said. “We have a lot to be proud of as we continue this tradition. We have a hardworking team, and we will have things for the whole family to do. We have some great music acts this year with some tribute bands and Little River Band, as well as Chris Higbee. We will see a lot of kids and families during the day and music bringing out adults at night; it is for the whole family.”

Smith explained that he believes the event only continues to grow more successful with locals and tourists.

“The hotels will be booked out from here to the Lodge,” Smith said. “We continue to get big, numbered crowds each year and we will only continue to add to the event.”

To stay updated on events and information related to the organization, follow them on Facebook or visit their website at To sponsor the event, ask questions, or contact someone at Friends of Portsmouth, email [email protected] or call 740.354.7711.

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