Riverfest draws 11,500 over three-day run

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 23, 2001

In the top photo, as Dr. Zarr’s amazing Funk Monster sings “Kung Fu Fighting” on the final night of Riverfest 2001, Tyieshia Peques, middle, and Brittany Warren try out their kicking as Shakyra Thomas, left, joins in. In the bottom photo, Billy Hays, left, and Justin Beyers jump from the crowd gathered in front of the south stage at Riverfest Sunday to catch a T-shirt being thrown into the crowd by River 101 disc jockeys. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[04/23/01] An estimated 11,500 people ventured out to Riverfest 2001 during its three-day run in downtown Vicksburg, organizers said Monday morning.

“Myself, the board of directors and the volunteers think this is the best Riverfest we’ve had since 1987,” said Kurt Rushing, president of Riverfest board of directors. “We attribute that to the warm weather, the lineup of entertainment and the sponsors. Overall, it was a huge success.”

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Previous Riverfest weekends have been doused by spring showers or even rained out.

Sunday afternoon activities, which had been canceled for the past couple of years, were brought back this year, and a crowd turned out to hear three bands playing at the South Stage on Washington Street.

Honey Blond, a band from Oxford with three Vicksburg members, kicked off the entertainment and was followed Projekt, a local group, and the headliner band, Dr. Zarr’s Amazing Funk Monster.

Dr. Zarr’s is a Memphis-based cover band whose musical and fashion style pay homage to the 1970s disco era.

Jayna and Arlene Mathis of Vicksburg said Sunday was their first day to attend Riverfest this weekend but have been to others and were impressed by the 2001 festival.

“It’s a lot better than it has been in a long time,” Jayna Mathis said.

Others said they enjoyed the event and couldn’t help but notice the large number of police officers patrolling and walking through the area.

“There are a lot of police here, and I think that makes people feel better,” Ben Jackson of Jackson said. Jackson said he has come to other Riverfest celebrations and feels like it’s something to keep coming back for.

“It’s usually a good atmosphere,” he said. “The music and the food is good. Everybody here seems to be really nice. That’s why we come.”

Rushing said Friday night’s numbers showed the biggest increase in Riverfest’s 16 years.

As in years past, one of the main attractions was the Spring Arts and Crafts Show at the Old Court House Museum. In its 33rd year, the show included more than 200 vendors selling wares from food and paintings to wooden toy crossbows.