Riverfest to show off remodeled downtown

By Lynn R. Parks

The sixth annual Riverfest, sponsored by the city of Seaford and the Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce, will be Saturday, Aug. 5. Festival goers will enjoy several familiar activities - the Float-In, the Duck Dash, bands performing in Gateway Park. There will also be a carnival and a Little Miss/Junior Miss Riverfest pageant, both of which are new this year.

In addition, there will be the downtown area, newly refurbished and ready to greet the over 2,000 people expected to attend Riverfest.
According to Shannon Willey, event coordinator and director of MainStreet and economic development for the city of Seaford, the downtown renovation project will not be 100-percent complete by the time of the Riverfest. But "it should not be visual that everything is not finished," she said. "Nothing should be torn up."

By Aug. 5, paving of High Street should be completed. The intersection of Front and High streets will still need work, but that phase of the project will not be started until after the festival, as it entails tearing up the street. In addition, the new stoplights along High Street will not be in place.
"I hope that people will see that a lot of people are interested in downtown and that there are a lot of businesses down there," said Willey. "I think a lot of people use High Street as a pass-through and I hope that they take a walk along High Street to see the many businesses that offer goods and services. I hope they walk away with an appreciation of downtown, that they see that the renovations were worth it and that they come back."

The Riverfest will kick off with a ribbon cutting near the east end of High Street, featuring local officials. The ribbon cutting, which will mark the official opening of the new downtown area, will be sponsored by the Downtown Seaford Association. The carnival, to be set up in the fenced-in area on Water Street, will open at 10 a.m., as will the food vendors near the river walk and craft booths next to Caffe Sarajevo.

The portions of Front and Market streets from High Street to the Blades Causeway bridge will be closed for a car show featuring classic, customized and antique vehicles. Canoe and kayak races will also get under way at 10 a.m. Paddlers in 22 classes will race the 7.5-mile course along the Nanticoke, setting off from the canoe launch at the end of Water Street. Gateway Park will be the site for Little Miss and Junior Miss Riverfest pageants, scheduled to start at 10 a.m.

Girls ages 3 to 6 will compete for Little Miss Riverfest and girls 7 to 10 will compete for Junior Miss Riverfest. The cost to enter is $5. Entries must be received by July 29. Call Willey at 629-9173 for more information.

At noon, members of the Seaford Harley club will sponsor a ride-in; the motorcycles will be on display along Water Street the rest of the day. The Float-In will get under way at 12:15 p.m. Buses, provided by Video Den and the Nanticoke Senior Center, will take participants from Water Street to the launching site at the Nautico restaurant on US 13.

People may use their own floating devices to go down the river and back to Water Street, about an hour float, or they may purchase large inner tubes for $3, donated by Service Tire. Cost for the Float-In is $2.

The Duck Dash will start at 1:30. Floating and numbered yellow ducks - which may be purchased for $3, two for $5 - will be released into a track set up in the river and will move toward South North Street. The first three ducks to cross the finish line will be declared the winners. All proceeds will benefit a local cause; last year's money went to the Seaford Mission.
The river will also be the site of a fishing tournament for children ages 6 to 12. The tournament, which starts at 2 p.m., is free; the winner is the child whose catches add up to the most ounces. An awards ceremony in Gateway Park will wrap things up at 4:30 p.m.

Three area bands will perform in Gateway Park during the day. Work Release will play at 11, Rumors at 1:30 and No Limits at 3. An information booth with maps and schedules will also be set up in Gateway Park.

A misting tent, provided by Artesian Water, will be set up on the festival grounds and Mad magazine artist Bob Clark will be doing caricatures. Face painting will be done by volunteers with the Western Sussex Boys and Girls Club. WTDK The Duck will broadcast live from the festival and a hand-washing station, donated by Peninsula Oil, will be available. This year's Riverfest design, featured on T-shirts and posters, was created by Mike Johnson, a member of this year's graduating class at Seaford High School.

The city of Seaford and the Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce are the two main sponsors of the Riverfest.

Additional sponsors are:

Act II, ASAP, Bank of Delmarva, Chambers Motors, Comcast, Conectiv, County Bank, Culver Insurance, Dover Pool, DuPont, Givens Florist, H. Tuman RV and Marine, Heritage Jewelers, Jefferson, Urina, Doane and Sterner, Johnson Polymer, The Leader/State Register, Leon Brown, Meg Gems, Moyer Packing Co., Nanticoke River Yacht Club, NAPA, Orient Chemical, Pepsi, Poor Tom's, Posey Palace, Roberts Oxygen, Seaford Florist, Seaford Star, Stewart's Awards and Imprints, Sussex Printing, Taylor Tackle, Tower Signs, Warren Electric and Wal-Mart.

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