City of Seaford to 'Paint on the Nanticoke' with 21st Riverfest

By Lynn R. Parks

This will be the 21st year for Riverfest, the city of Seaford's annual celebration of its downtown and the Nanticoke River that flows nearby.

"Painting on the Nanticoke" will be held July 10 and 11, starting with opening ceremonies at 5 p.m. Friday on the main stage in the Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church parking lot.

The festival will run through Saturday evening, when the band Back By Sunrise will close it out with a performance beginning at 8:30 p.m. Throughout the weekend, festival-goers will be invited to throw softballs at a dunking booth target and send the person sitting in the booth plunging into the water below. Proceeds from the dunking booth will to help pay medical costs for 5-year-old Brayden Houston of Delmar, who had a heart transplant in April.

"Riverfest is a great opportunity for the community to come out and share some time together," said Trisha Newcomer, festival chairwoman. "People can take in what we have to offer in downtown Seaford and enjoy some experiences that they don't always get to do."

A carnival, set up in the empty lot near city hall, will open at 6 on Thursday evening. It will be open from 6 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, 6 to 11 p.m. on Friday and 2 to 10 p.m. on Saturday.

The festival's cornerstone event, the Nanticoke River Float-In, will be held mid-afternoon on Saturday. Registration will start at 1 p.m. Saturday with splash-off at 3 p.m. (Starting time is determined by the tides.) The event will start at the office of Peninsula Urology, on Riverside Drive 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.

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. Service Tire Truck Center will 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.

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

Events on Friday evening will include a performance by students at X-Squad Dancers in Selbyville. The students will take the stage at 6 p.m.

At 6:30 p.m., the Little Miss and Junior Miss Riverfest pageant will get underway on the festival's main stage. Girls age 3 through 6 (Little Miss) and 7 through 10 (Junior Miss) will vie for the crowns. The pageants will be limited to 20 contestants, who will be judged on conversation, talent and appearance. The contestants are required to wear bathing suits and are welcome to accessorize. Registration forms are available on the festival's website,

For the second time there will be a boat parade on the Nanticoke. Line-up will start at 7:30 p.m. and the parade will start at 8:30 p.m. Sponsors are the Blades Economic Development Corporation (BEDCO), the town of Blades, the Nanticoke River Yacht Club and the Nanticoke River Sail and Power Squadron.

The band Mike Hines and the Look will perform on the main stage Friday night, starting at 8:30 p.m.

At 9 a.m. Saturday, the festival will get into full swing, with the opening of food and arts and crafts booths and the startup of entertainment. Also at 9, a tent sponsored by Delaware Watersheds will open. Featured will be displays about the health of the Nanticoke River and ways citizens can help to keep the river clean.

In addition to the Float-In, Saturday's activities will include canoe and kayak races on the river. Registration begins at 8 a.m. at the canoe launch on Water Street and the races start at 10 a.m. Cost is $15 per paddler in advance or $20 the day of the event. For information, call 245-5775.

A youth fishing tournament on the floating dock at South Pine Street will get underway at 10 a.m.; registration will start at 9 a.m. Children ages 3 to 16 are welcome. Participants should bring their own fishing poles; bait and tackle will be provided. There will be prizes and give-aways, sponsored by the state of Delaware and Hastings Marine Construction.

The festival's 18th annual car show will open at 10 a.m. Registration starts at 9 a.m. Sponsor is I.G. Burton Chevrolet, Seaford. The show will be held on the west end of High Street.

Throughout the morning, artists with the Nanticoke River Arts Council will have easels set up on High Street and will paint the scene as it unfolds. Their works will be on display throughout the day in front of Gallery 107.

The Duck Dash, a Riverfest tradition that features yellow plastic ducks racing in the Nanticoke, will get underway at 6 p.m. The race will start at the Nanticoke River drawbridge. Duck tickets are $5. First place in each of two heats will win $100, second place $50 and third place $25. Tickets can be purchased until 4:30 p.m.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., children's activities will take place at the corner of High and Market streets. Children will be invited to paint their own aprons, do sand art, decorate ducks and paint sun catchers.

Also from 10 to 4, the Seaford Museum at 203 High St. will be open with free admission. Its new exhibit on the city's waterfront will be open.

A tent sponsored by Nanticoke Health Services will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be free blood pressure checks and displays presenting health information. There will also be a first aid station under the tent.

Throughout the day there will be entertainment. Area church choirs will perform from 9 to 10 a.m., the Juggling Hoffmans will take the stage at 10:45 and the Jungle John Reptile Show will kick off at 2 p.m. In addition to Mike Hines and the Look and Back By Sunrise, bands that will perform are Running With Scissors, Lovely Rita and Star Crush.

Festival-goers are invited to search the grounds for the Riverfest Idol. First person to find it will win $100. (See the Riverfest website for some clues as to the idol's location.)

Members of the Seaford Downtown Association are welcome to decorate their buildings for the festival. The city is sponsoring a contest and will select a winner that best presents the festival's theme, "Painting on the Nanticoke." Judging will be July 7.

For your information: The 21st annual Riverfest will be Friday and Saturday, July 11 and 12, in downtown Seaford. For details, visit the website

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