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Weather, crowd perfect for 30th annual Riverfest

Washington Street was bustling with activity throughout Saturday for the 30th annual RiverFest. The blues music of Osgood and Blaque wafted down the street in the afternoon as people enjoyed food vendors, an arts and craft show and a downtown merchant sidewalk sale.

“We have an abundance of people down here. We have them going all the way past China Street,” RiverFest president Christy Pecanty said.

After last year’s event was dampened by rain on Friday and Saturday, the organizers couldn’t have asked for a more picturesque setting for this year’s event. Festivalgoers were treated to a clear blue sky and temperatures in the mid-70s as they took in all RiverFest had to offer.

“I think it is the perfect weather,” Pecanty said. “It is a great community event and it shows that we have a lot of people that are from all over that are coming here. We have a lot of people coming from Louisiana. It shows that our community is involved with what goes on in Vicksburg.”

The arts and crafts show featured vendors selling homemade wooden toys, hermit crabs with painted shells and much more.

The event started Friday evening with a performance by The Chill. They were followed by Projekt Band, Nikita and headliner Willie Clayton. The festivities picked up again Saturday starting at 8 a.m and continued until midnight with a performance by headliner Frank Foster.

The theme for this year’s event was “30 years and still rockin’.” Vicksburg High School senior Danielle Sheshane drew the design for this year’s t-shirt, which featured a catfish playing a guitar to symbolize the theme. Her design was chosen from among the entries drawn by students at schools throughout the district.

“Every year we have a competition between the schools,” Pecanty said. “The board comes up with a theme and we present it to the schools.”

The annual event brings 1,000s of people to downtown Vicksburg and serves as a showcase for the district and its merchants.

Many of the merchants were set up with booths on the sidewalks showing all they had to offer and were having special sales to coincide with the festival.

“It brings a lot of people down here that maybe haven’t been down and don’t know what all the stores have,” Mary Helen Welch, the owner of Paper Plus, said.

Karen Ruggles, the owner of Cinnamon Tree, added. “I think it is really good for the store, downtown and the city. It brings people downtown and I think it is very good for us.”