PORTSMOUTH —Children anxiously lined the street of Downtown Portsmouth Saturday as the annual River Days Parade kicked off a day of fun.
Children dashed into the road to collect candy as it fell like rain upon them, collecting as much as they could before the next candy storm came from another parade float. This year was Portsmouth’s 58 year doing the River Day’s Festival, a welcomed sight by the community after being canceled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic last year.
“The crowd size really doesn’t seem much different than past years,” said Pierce. “I’m really glad they were able to have it this year. I know a lot of the kids were very disappointed last year and it’s nice to have something that’s the way it should be.”
Along with the parade, the festival featured live music, rides, food vendors, pageants and much more of the long labor day weekend. This year’s parade did not disappoint with several handmade floats by the RIver Day’s Pageant girls and a float that featured a large paper mache elephant with a pageant candidate on top. While the floats had residents staring in astonishment, the bands also had many residents tapping their toes and dancing along the parade route.
“We always look forward to watching the bands and seeing the different float themes,” said Heather Pierce.
Pierce shared she and her family have been attending the parade for around 12 years and was just happy to have a little piece of normal back into her family’s life.
Despite the COVID-19 Pandemic and the rise of COVID cases throughout the county, residents came out in flocks of people to watch the parade and enjoy the festivities the River Days Festival offered.
“I think they had a great turnout, everyone is being careful, but it’s time to enjoy this,” said Valerie Starrett.
Starrett has also been coming out to the parade for 12 years and although she has moved away, Starrett always comes back to visit for River Day’s weekend.
“I love coming out and seeing all the young people and bands. They’re all just so happy,” said Starrett.
After the parade wrapped up, many residents headed to Fourth Street in Downtown Portsmouth to enjoy carnival rides, vendors, food and live entertainment for the rest of the day.
“This is just a Portsmouth thing,” Starrett said.
Reach Darian Gillette at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at [email protected]
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