SHAKE IT DOWN: Ritz on the River 2022 brings Motown to Vicksburg

Published 2:27 pm Friday, July 22, 2022

The 9th annual Ritz on the River was held on Thursday night at the Vicksburg Convention Center.

The catered dinner and concert was attended by more than 400 people, many dressed for the ‘Motown’ theme.

The Executive Director of the VCC, Erin Southard, was very pleased with the turnout.

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“We have heard nothing but an overwhelmingly positive response to last night,” she said. “I think we had the most amount of people in attendance that we’ve had in many years.”

The venue was adorned with neon purple and glittery decorations to go with the Motown theme. The venue sparkled when the lights went down and music began.

New Orleans-based band The Phunky Monkeys was the main attraction. The 11-piece ensemble performed classic Motown hits in front of a crowded and energetic dance floor.

Southard said the goal of the event was simply to create a great night out.

“You don’t have places to dress up anymore,” she said. “We want to do something where people can dress up, and have a night out, but do it on a Thursday so that it’s not conflicting weekend plans.”

The Ritz on the River also has a philanthropic aspect. Each year a different organization is featured and is given a portion of the proceeds as a donation. This year, the Convention Center was able to give the Friends of the Vicksburg Animal Shelter $5,432.

Missy Arnold, Board President of the Friends of the Vicksburg Animal Shelter, was glad the organization was receiving the money.

“We were just thrilled to death that they selected our organization to make that donation,” Arnold said. “Because all this money will go towards the needs of the Vicksburg Animal Shelter.”

The organization provides supplemental funding and volunteer work for the local shelter.

Southard was pleased to be able to give back to the community.

“We just thought that they would be a great recipient,” she said. “We wanted to help and give back; to help them achieve their goals to take care of the animals that need some extra love.”

Dinner was provided by Seazand Dreamz Catering, which has been the Convention Center’s event caterer since last year. It included bone-in pork chops, green beans, fried apples and twice-baked potato casserole, along with a variety of desserts. The bar also served two specialty cocktails to go along with the theme.

“We want to make sure people have a good time and have good food, and leave with nothing but euphoria and excitement for whatever they have just attended,” Southard said.

She also wished to thank all of the volunteers and sponsors that made the event possible. Mutual Credit Union was the title sponsor, but many other companies around Vicksburg contributed as well. Many organizations reserved whole tables for staff and volunteers.

Southard said she is looking forward to next year’s Ritz on the River in July. She also mentioned the Convention Center is always looking for volunteers and sponsors to help with events.

“We would love to have anybody to come on board to help volunteer, sponsor or just attend,” she said.

To get more information on volunteering or sponsoring an event at the Vicksburg Convention Center, call their main office at 610-630-2929.