Riverfest board gets new president after resignation

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 23, 2008

Terisa Cochran has taken over as president of Riverfest following the resignation of Alesia Shaw, who said her job demands too much time to serve in the volunteer role.

“Work is just too much for me right now, and I don’t feel like I can give enough to the board. It wasn’t fair to them,” said Shaw, marketing manager for DiamondJack’s.

It is not the first time Cochran has taken the reins of Riverfest, the Vicksburg area’s largest spring event, after a president has stepped down. A member of the Riverfest board of directors for the past six years and Trustmark Bank employee, Cochran took control of the spring festival in 2006 just two months before it was staged.

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“We pulled it together then, and I feel like as long as I have more than two months I can do this,” she told the Vicksburg Main Street Board at its meeting Tuesday.

Riverfest 2009 is scheduled for April 17-18, and Cochran did not hesitate to note it is going to be a particularly challenging year considering the overall economic conditions.

“This is going to be a tough year. We may be going backward as far as some of the entertainment is concerned,” she said. “My main goal right now is to open up the lines of communication with all of the merchants downtown to find out their opinions about Riverfest.” 

Shaw had said in September that private and corporate donations — which the festival heavily relies upon — were very low, and Riverfest could likely be scaled back to one stage of musical performers instead of two. Cochran said that is still a possibility, although she did not have exact figures in regards to donations.

“Entertainment all through the festival will likely be scaled back,” she said.

Shaw said this year’s festival cost around $250,000, $40,000 of which was spent on headline performer Rick Springfield.

Cochran said she is working with The Exchange Club of Vicksburg, which organized a motorcycle rally against child abuse in August, to possibly incorporate a rally into Riverfest weekend.

Shaw will remain on the 12-member Riverfest board, of which she has been a member for the past three years. Riverfest is a nonprofit organization, spun off after the spring festival was begun 21 years ago.


Contact Steve Sanoski at ssanoski@vicksburgpost.com.