RiverFest crews setting up today

Published 11:36 am Thursday, April 19, 2012

Workers began this morning setting up the stage for RiverFest, the biggest of the full slate of entertainment events set for the weekend in Vicksburg.

The RiverFest gates will open at 6 Friday night for music, food and beverages and will stay open until about midnight along Washington Street.

On Saturday, the venues will be stretched out a bit.

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At the Vicksburg Convention Center, the Alcorn State University Jazz Festival will kick off at 8 a.m., and high school and college bands from across the state will perform into the night.

If browsing and shopping are of interest, take your pick.

The Vicksburg Farmers’ Market will be at South and Washington streets throughout the day, the RiverFest Arts and Crafts Show will be set up on Walnut Street between and including Crawford and South streets and the annual Old Court House Museum Flea Market will take over Court Square.

About 1,000 people pre-ordered tickets for the festival, said RiverFest board member Joel Angle.

“What I’ve been told by experience is that most people wait to buy them at the gate,” Angle said.

About a quarter of the pre-order tickets are for weekend passes, Angle said, and one-day ticket sales heavily favor Friday with headliner Easton Corbin.

Corbin takes the stage at 10:30 p.m.

About 10,000 people are expected to attend the festival during the weekend, said RiverFest Board President Katrina Shirley.

“I think there’s a lot of excitement built beforehand,” Shirley said.

That size of the crowd is one original organizers just dreamed about, said Moses Brown, who helped start the event.

“It has grown pretty big and it’s probably even going to be bigger,” Brown said.

Brown, who is the leader of The Projekt Blues Band said he was involved in RiverFest “before we even had any money.”

“We started from scratch,” said Brown, whose Projeckt Blues Band is set to perform on the South Stage at 8 Friday night.

Tickets are available at the gate for $20, Shirley said. For the first time, patrons of RiverFest will be able to use a credit card at the gate to pay for admission or purchase beer tickets, she said.

“That is a new option that is available,” She said.

Saturday’s daytime events might be soggy with a 70 percent chance of rain during the day but there are no plans to curtail events, Shirley said.

“Right now events are scheduled as planned,” she said.

For Saturday night, the chance of rain falls to 30 percent, according to the National Weather Service, so festival patrons might stay dry for Patrick Smith at 7:30 p.m., Bobby Rush at 8:45 p.m. and Dirty Dozen Brass Band at 10:30 p.m.

RiverFest organizers will be getting hourly updates on the weather over the weekend, Shirley said.