Area river fans will take to the Nanticoke this weekend

By Lynn R. Parks

Planning for this year’s Riverfest, set for Friday and Saturday in Seaford, has been going on since soon after last year’s Riverfest. “We start planning for the next one right after one is over,” said Ron Breeding, who is co-chairman of this year’s event. Ron MacArthur is the other chairman. Fifteen volunteers head up Riverfest committees. “In August, we had a wrap-up meeting to evaluate what we did right and to lay the foundation for this year’s,” said Breeding, who is director of facilities, parks and recreation for the city of Seaford. MacArthur, a former city councilman, is editor of The Seaford Star. Then there are monthly meetings through May, when the meeting schedule bumps up to two a month. All this for a festival that, according to Seaford economic development manager Amy Walls, gets people acquainted with the city. “Riverfest brings people downtown and introduces them to the shops there,” Walls said. “Visitors might decide they like a neighborhood and they would like to live there. Or they might find a shop they will come back to visit. “The festival also presents a positive image of the city: It shows that we care enough about the community that we want to have something like this.” Cost to put on the Riverfest is $20,000, most of which is donated by business sponsors, Breeding said. This year, committee heads worked to raise more than that. The additional $5,000 they raised will be used as seed money for next year’s event, he said. Breeding said that this year’s Riverfest is geared especially toward families. A stage devoted to children’s activities will be set up on Market Street, behind city hall. There will be story tellers and children’s performances. There will also be a pedal-tractor pull, for children age 5 to 13.
Also new this year is the 5K Duck Dash, set for the Chapel Branch nature trail. The trail, west of Seaford near the Invista nylon plant, is used by Seaford High School for its cross country meets. The race will start at 9 a.m., with registration starting at 8 a.m. Of course, the event will include the Nanticoke River Float-In, part of the festival since its start 11 years ago. People in any kind of floating device are invited to travel the river, from the U.S. 13 bridge to downtown. The float-in starts at 10 a.m.; registration is at 9 a.m. at the launch location. Canoe and kayak races will start at noon. And the second annual Mayor’s Challenge Boat Race, with area politicians competing for bragging rights, will start at 4 p.m. Also in its second year is the Riverfest Gong Show, where talented - and brave - souls risk being gonged in their quest for cash prizes. Friday, beginning at 5 p.m., and throughout Saturday, there will be food and vendor booths set up downtown. A carnival will run Thursday and Friday nights and all day Saturday. Friday night entertainment will be by JParis (5:30 p.m.) and Randy Lee Ashcraft (8 p.m.). On Saturday night, Barron Creek (5:30 p.m.) and the Funsters (8 p.m.) will take the stage. For additional information, call the city of Seaford, 629-9173. The Web site, www.nanticokeriverfest. com, contains a wealth of information as well as application forms for events.

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