Riverfest kicks off at 6:50 tonight

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 11, 2003

[04/11/03]This year’s edition of Vicksburg’s biggest party weekend starts tonight with two stages of music and continues Saturday with the 34th Annual Arts & Crafts Show and Sale.

The latter will be from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Old Court House Museum, and the former will be inside and outside the Vicksburg Convention Center.

Great news is that the National Weather Service is predicting clear skies and warmer temperatures all weekend. Temperatures are expected to reach a high of 75 with a low tonight of 48. On Saturday, forecasters are calling for a high of 75 and a low of 52.

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Rain has plagued some of the spring festivals, begun by the Chamber of Commerce and now spun off into an independent, non-profit committtee.

Due to construction in the 1100 and 1200 blocks of Washington Street, Riverfest festivities have been moved south of downtown and will include indoor activities at the Vicksburg Convention Center.

Friday and Saturday night street dances, which are the best-attended Riverfest events, have been outdoors for the 15 previous festivals. Last year’s events drew an estimated 17,000 people, but rain has been a frequent problem.

“We’re hoping we have a good turnout, but we’re unsure because we had to move some stuff around because of downtown,” Riverfest board chairman Jose Oakley said.

Vendors will be set up in the parking lot outside the Convention Center and inside. Two entrances will be on Mulberry Street. Mulberry, Depot and Pearl streets by the Convention Center will be closed for Riverfest.

Gates will open at 6:30 p.m., and the opening ceremony will be at 6:50 at the inside stage in the Convention Center. Tickets for tonight are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under.

Performers will include Na Na Sha, Shenandoah, Compozitionz, Vasti Jackson and Robert “Duke” Tillman.

Saturday’s events will be free and will begin at 10 a.m. in the parking lot at the Convention Center. Children’s activities during the day will include face painting, pony rides and games.

Evening activities will begin at 6:30 p.m. and tickets for Saturday night will be $15 for adults and $5 for children.

Performers will include The Patrick Smith Band, Venus Mission, Atlanta Rythm Section, Chuck Strong, David Brinston and O.B. Buchanon.