The opening ceremonies for River Days were held Sept. 1, kicking off festivities for the weekend with a warm welcome.
The months of preparation and planning are now set in motion, and people from all over the region are heading down to the River Front to celebrate.
“We’ve got beautiful weather, and it should really lend to a wonderful weekend,” said River Days Chairman, Dr. Tim Angel. “I think we’re good to-go. I don’t foresee any problems. All in all, the set-up and the start have been really smooth.”
The night kicked off with the National Anthem, sang by Olivia Thoroughman, followed by prayer lead by Rector Steve Cuff, from All Saints Episcopal Church.
Jim Milken, a liaison and representative of John Husted, Secretary of the State Of Ohio, read the certificate, and lauded the Portsmouth Rivers Days committee, and the city of Portsmouth for their commitment to host the annual festival.
The River Days candidates then took the stage, and introduced themselves to the crowd.
Local award-winning musician Steve Free, started the entertainment segment of the festival with his performance, followed by Josh Stewart and 80’s arena tribute band, Orleans.
“We start planning for next years River Days two weeks after this years ends,” explained River Days organizer, Teresa Bratton. “We’re really excited to present some new things this year. This is the first year we’ve ever done a KISS look-a-like costume contest because we have a KISS tribute band that’s on Sept. 2. Of course Saturday, we’ve got Three Dog Night and City Heat, classic-rock bands. We’re getting local bands, like Larry Pancake, Teaser and Doc Roc & the Remedies. We also have an Abe Lincoln impersonator, he’ll be in the parade and he’ll also be taking part in the children’s activities.”
In addition to national and local entertainment acts, highlights of the festival include, the Grand Parade and Miss River Days Pageant, midway attractions, arts and crafts, children’s activities, petting zoo, kiddie tractor pull, and an antique car show.
The outcome for the festival is expected to be positive, despite the recent construction around the area and the closure of the US Grant Bridge.
“Last year we probably had over 30,000 people,” said Bratton. “Of course, it’s a free event so we don’t have a way to break that down by each night, but over the course of a weekend, 30,000 is still a huge number. We’re definitely expecting the same crowd, especially with the way the weather has been working in our favor, it’s going to be a really great weekend.”
For more information about River Days, you can go online to www.portsmouthriverdays.org, or by following them on Facebook by searching, “Portsmouth River Days.”
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.