Crowds fill downtown as Riverfest kicks off

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 23, 2002

[04/20/02]The smell of frying chicken and funnel cakes greeted visitors on the first night of Riverfest. Crowds grew slowly downtown Vicksburg Friday as the sun set on Washington Street.

By 9 p.m., the streets were filled with hundreds of merry-makers. Johnny Reynolds, president of the Riverfest board of supervisors, said it was too early to tell how this year’s crowd will compare with previous years.

“It looks pretty good,” he said. “We’ve got a mixture of young and old.”

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Reynolds said the three-day festival opened smoothly. Festival-goers waved their hands in front of Nathaniel Kimbel, the opening act on the south stage. Levi and Janice Harris, of Fayette, said that the entertainment had drawn them to Riverfest for the last three years.

“It’s something different,” Janice Harris said.

“We like that,” added Levi Harris pointing to Kimbel and his band.

On the north stage, Drive Division opened. U.S. and The Bluz Boys followed.

Today the festivities begin at 10 a.m. with train rides, monster truck rides, a climbing wall, face paintings and street performers.

This year’s daytime activities include the first ever Jazzfest, beginning at 11 a.m. on the south stage with jazz bands from Warren Central, Vicksburg and Florence High Schools performing. Delta State’s jazz band will conclude Jazzfest at 2 p.m.

The north stage will host several live acts. Beginning at 10 a.m., 180 Production will perform, followed by 180 Production 2, Mrs. Burnworth’s Variety of Legends, Tri County Show Elite, Subject to Change, Fuse X, Southwind Band and local act Legal Tender.

Also downtown today is the 34th annual Spring Arts and Crafts Show at the Old Court House Museum from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.

The National Weather Service in Jackson is predicting partly cloudy skies for the remainder of the weekend with highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s. There is a chance of thunderstorms on Sunday.

The night time line-up begins on both stages at 6:30 p.m., with Projeckt opening on the north stage, followed by Jackie Neal and Wilson Meadows.

The Earth Angels play on the south stage at 6:30 p.m..

On the final day of Riverfest, three bands will play on the South Stage. Local favorites the Ben Shaw Band begin at 4:30 p.m., followed by Vicksburg’s The Chill and funk band Dr. Zarr’s Amazing Funk Monster.

Also today, streets surrounding the Old Court House Museum Cherry, Jackson, Monroe and Grove will be closed for the arts and crafts show.