Riverfest plans 19th year of food and fun

By Lynn R. Parks

For the 19th year, the city of Seaford will welcome people into its downtown, to get to know businesses that are there and to celebrate the Nanticoke River that flows nearby.

Seaford's annual Riverfest, with the theme "Rollin' on the Nanticoke," will be held July 12 and 13, 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 Mike Hines and the Look will close it out with a performance beginning at 9 p.m.

A carnival, set up in the lot behind Royal Farms, will open at 6 on Thursday evening. It will be open from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and noon to 10 p.m. Saturday.

"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."

Primary among those unusual experiences is the festival's cornerstone event, the Nanticoke River Float-In. Due to the tides, the Float-In will be held early this year, starting at 10 a.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 8 a.m. Cost to float is $1; participants are asked to bring exact change and 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 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 the Mayor's Challenge, with area politicians competing with water balloons for the Mayor's Cup. The action will start at 5:30 p.m. behind city hall. Seaford Mayor Bill Bennett was last year's winner.

The annual Little Miss and Junior Miss Riverfest pageants will start at 6:30 p.m. 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 talent and appearance. The contestants are required to wear bathing suits. Registration forms are available on the festival's website, www.nanticokeriverfest.com.

The band Anything Goes will perform on the main stage Friday night, starting at 9 p.m.

At 9 a.m. Saturday, the festival will get into full swing, with the opening of food and arts and crafts booths. In addition to the Float-In, Saturday's activities will include the Canoe and Kayak Challenge, which will launch from Water Street, a youth fishing tournament along the Riverwalk, a car show at High and Market streets and a motorcycle show along South Conwell Street.

The Duck Dash, a Riverfest tradition that features yellow plastic ducks racing in the Nanticoke, will get underway at 5 p.m. There will be a dunking booth and children's activities will be set up behind city hall.

For the first time, the festival will include a boat show, which will be set up along Water Street.

Throughout the day Saturday, there will be entertainment on the city hall steps and on the main stage in the Mt. Olivet parking lot. Entertainment at city hall will include the festival's duck calling contest. On the main stage, a Family Feud-style competition, sponsored by Delmarva Broadcasting, will be held from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

For your information The 19th annual Riverfest will be Friday and Saturday, July 12 and 13, in downtown Seaford. For details, visit the website www.nanticokeriverfest.com.

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