Nanticoke Riverfest adds more attractions and entertainment

By Lynn R. Parks

There is no excuse, said city of Seaford employee Trisha Newcomer, for anyone in the area complaining that there's nothing to do this weekend. The 16th annual Riverfest will be going on and Seaford's downtown will be chock-full of activities.

"This is a whole weekend event," said Newcomer, the city's economic development and information and technology manager. "There will be all kinds of stuff to see and do. There should not be a time that anyone will be bored."

Riverfest will get underway Thursday afternoon at 5:30 with opening ceremonies on a stage that will be set up on Market Street, behind city hall. A carnival sponsored by the Nanticoke Rotary Club will open at 6 p.m.

The festival will run through Saturday evening, when the band "Encore" will close it out with a performance beginning at 9:30 p.m. The carnival will be open all three days, starting at 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday.

The festival's keystone event, the Nanticoke River Float-In, will start at 6 p.m. Saturday at the office of Benz Urology, east of town just off U.S. 13. Hundreds of participants are expected to float down the river to the city's canoe launch on Water Street.

Registration for the Float-In will start at 4:30 p.m. Cost to float is $1; participants are asked to bring exact change and also to bring with them their own floating devices. A few inner tubes will be available for purchase, at $15 for single tubes and $20 for doubles. Kent Sussex Tire will also have an air pump at the site to blow up inner tubes.

A few lifejackets will also be available for purchase. Children who are under 16 are required to wear lifejackets.

Newcomer said that floaters should park in Seaford's downtown and ride the shuttle to the launch site. That way, she said, they will be near their cars when the Float-In is finished. There will not be shuttles back to the launch site.

This year's festival will feature several new activities. Among them will be horse and carriage rides from downtown to the Nanticoke River and back.

"The ride gives a very picturesque view of the river," Newcomer said. The carriages will go along South Conwell Street, past the old train station and Soil Service to the river. Rides will take from 10 to 15 minutes. Each carriage carries up to six people and the rides cost $5 per person, with children under 3 riding for free.

Also new this year will be demonstrations of stand-up paddle boards. Representatives of Delmarva Board Sport Adventures will be on the river at Pine Street all day Saturday. At 3 p.m., they will present a demonstration of how to use the boards.

Saturday's activities will get started at 8:30 a.m. with the Vince Morris Memorial 5K run. For the first time, the run, which always before has been held at Chapel Branch, will take place in the city, starting near the water tower on Cedar Avenue and running out to the Ross Plantation. Registration for the run will start at 7:30 a.m.

At 2 p.m. on Saturday, the new Nanticoke River Water Trail will be commissioned. The trail goes 26 miles, from just upriver of Seaford to the mouth of the Nanticoke at the Chesapeake Bay, and is a regional component of the 3,000-mile Captain John Smith Chesapeake Nation Historic Water Trail. That trail, the first national water trail in the United States, commemorates Capt. Smith's exploration of the Chesapeake in 1608. The commissioning will take place on the Market Street drawbridge that traverses the Nanticoke and that connects Seaford to Blades.

This year's Riverfest will have two stages in addition to the main stage in the parking lot of Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church on High Street. The stage behind city hall, on which the opening ceremonies will take place, is sponsored by the Nanticoke Rotary Club. Following Thursday's opening ceremonies, the Milford Community Band will play there starting at 6 p.m., followed by the Reminders. On Friday, the Mayor's Challenge Egg Toss, hosted by Mayor Ed Butler, will take place on the stage, starting at 5:30 p.m.

On Saturday, the city hall stage will host children's activities and entertainment, including clowns, Magic John, Nanticoke Indian dancers and a children's talent show. The band 13 South will kick off the entertainment at 9:30 a.m.

The second new stage will be set up in Gateway Park and on Saturday will be home to a series of concerts, starting at 10 a.m. Entertainment will be held on the Mt. Olivet main stage Friday evening and all day Saturday. Friday's lineup includes Bog Bottom Outlaws, Overtime and closing out the day, the Funsters, who will take the stage at 9:30 p.m.

On Saturday, dancers from the Nanticoke Indians will kick off the action on the stage, starting at 11 a.m. They will be followed by a gospel music concert and then the bands Rampage, Anything Goes and Encore.

The festival's traditional car show will take place Saturday near Gateway Park and a motorcycle show will be set up on Spring Street. A youth fishing tournament will be held on the river at Pine Street starting at 10 a.m. and canoe and kayak races will leave from the city's canoe launch on Water Street, also at 10 a.m. A dunking booth will be set up in the Mt. Olivet parking lot and children's games and activities will be held in the city hall parking lot.

Newcomer said that the primary purpose of Riverfest is to provide area citizens with fun activities. But it is also designed to bring exposure to Seaford, to its downtown and to the Nanticoke River, "which is a huge resource that we have," she said.

"This is one way to get exposure for our city," Newcomer added. "We hope that the people who come to Riverfest recognize that our community is a great community."

For your information: The 16th annual Riverfest will be Thursday, Friday and Saturday in downtown Seaford. For details, visit the website HYPERLINK ""

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