GALLIPOLIS — The 49th Annual River Recreation Festival opened on Thursday evening at the Gallipolis City Park in downtown Gallipolis and will continue through Saturday evening, concluding with a fireworks display at 10 p.m.
The River Recreation Festival is held each year around the Fourth of July holiday and is the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce’s annual fundraising event. This year, festivities kicked off with the queen’s parade followed by the opening ceremony and the Junior Miss and Queen’s Pageants. A performance by the River Valley High School Show Choir closed out the evening.
Friday’s schedule is highlighted by the Independence Day Parade that will begin at 7 p.m. and will proceed down Second Avenue to the park. The annual Rotary Mile will begin at 6:30 p.m. just prior to the parade and “No Regrets,” a popular 80’s hair band hailing from Columbus will take the stage following the parade at approximately 8:15 p.m. Matt Stillwell, a nationally-known country music recording artist, will perform beginning at 9:30 p.m. on the main stage.
Saturday is Kids’ Day during this year’s River Rec Festival and will feature numerous contests including a corn hole tournament, jump rope contest, skills challenge as well as the “Minute to Win it” game that will begin at 3 p.m. in the city park. The popular terrapin race, frog jumping and sack races will start at 10:15 a.m. on Saturday.
“Tangible Alternatives,” an activity area specifically designed for children with special needs, will be open from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday.
The French Art Colony’s Annual Youth Art competition, which includes the artwork of students from throughout the region, will be on display from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. in the park.
Gospel night will be held on Saturday evening beginning at 4 p.m. and will feature performances by Ordinary People at 4 p.m., Gloryland Believers at 6:30 p.m., and Open Rail at 8 p.m., among many other talented local gospel groups.
Fireworks will begin at 10 p.m. along with patriotic music and the split the pot drawing will close out this year’s festival at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday.
New to this year’s festival are inflatables that open at 10 a.m. to dusk on Friday and re-open again from 10 a.m. to dusk on Saturday. Tickets for inflatables are $3 for two turns or wristbands can be purchased for all-day access at $12 on Friday and Saturday. The rockwall and extreme air power jump are $3 and $5 a turn, respectively.
Returning this year is the online auction that closes at 8 p.m. on Monday, July 7. The auction, that went online last year, allows individuals an opportunity to bid on various items and packages, including one-year room and board at the University of Rio Grande, and much more. Items can be viewed at www.gallipolisriverrec.com.
The River Recreation Festival is sponsored by the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce and the 2014 River Recreation Festival Committee.