PORTSMOUTH — With river waters expected to rise toward the end of the week, Friends of Portsmouth announced a few changes to the upcoming River Days Festival.
As remnants of Hurricane Ida saturate the region, Friends of Portsmouth announced on social media Tuesday informing the community of changes that will be made this year to the festival. Due to the amount of rain and the predicted rise of the Ohio River, the riverfront is expected to be underwater.
“Our riverfront is predicted to be under at 41 feet by Saturday,” Friends of Portsmouth Director Tim Wolfe said. “That puts our soundstage, half our levee and our boat ramp underwater.”
Because the boat ramp will not be accessible, organizers have postponed boat races that were scheduled for Saturday during the festival to a tentative date of Oct. 29. Live performances will also be moved from the riverfront to Fourth Street.
“Obviously, we can’t do boat races without a boat ramp and we can’t have our entertainment without a stage, so we are making some adjustments,” Wolfe said. “Entertainment will be on Fourth Street in between Washington and Chillicothe Street. We are going to use the municipal parking lot and Fourth street for the rides and food trucks.”
Wolfe shared that most of the festival’s entertainment will remain the same except the fireworks that were scheduled to close out the festival. Due to flooding of the riverfront, the fireworks have also been postponed with hopes of having them set off at a different date.
“Safety is our No. 1 priority for our boat racers and attendees,” Friends of Portsmouth member Sara Mauk said. “Because of the flooding, we will now be turning the Ducky Derby into a drawing.”
Mauk shared that the derby will draw a number based on all the numbers they have collected for the derby and will reveal the winner Sunday at 5 p.m. Mauk said Friends of Portsmouth will go on Facebook Live to announce the winner and encourages residents to still participate in the event.
“You still have time to buy your Ducky Derby tickets online or get your tickets during the parade,” Mauk said.
Mauk shared that the River Days parade will remain the same as previous years and that everyone can still place their chairs where they always have. The parade will kick off at 11 a.m. Saturday and the pageant is still going on as planned.
Wolfe added that due to the changes of the festival, there will be no admission fees for the festival. However, carnival rides will remain a charged event.
“Ironically, the weather is supposed to be great this weekend, so we hope everyone will still come out and have a great time,” Wolfe said. “We’ll shoot for the boat races for the end of October.”
Reach Adam Black at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1927, or by email at [email protected]
© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved