Riverfest Draws Thousands to Towanda
By Rick Hiduk
The Penn York Highlanders Pipe Band kicked off Riverfest 2011 in grand fashion on Aug. 18 as they marched up the Merrill Parkway from the Progress Building in Towanda, past the long line at the ticket tent, to the lower stage, where they performed a number of Celtic and Scottish tunes to an appreciative audience. The weather was perfect for opening night, and attendance numbers remained high through the end of the three-day celebration, despite some showers on Friday.
Many patrons took advantage of ride-all-night passes that afforded children unlimited access to the Ferris wheel, the Super Slide, the Octopus, airplane, tanks, and other rides. Vendors hawked numerous wares, from handcrafted lawn ornaments and pet supplies to personalized license plates and pop culture T-shirts. Numerous area nonprofit organizations set up booths to attract new supporters and keep regular backers abreast of their progress.
Local bands and school-based groups provided entertainment throughout the event, and area residents applied their talents and skills to a variety of contests that ran the gamut from Karaoke, a kids pedal tractor pull, a baby crawl, and the annual Riverfest 5K run and walk. The event also featured fitness demonstrations and nonstop bingo.
Musical offerings ranged from country to rock and pop, and several dancing troupes entertained patrons at two separate stages. Approximately two-dozen kayakers and canoeists participated in a float from the Ulster boat landing to Towanda. Local radio stations broadcasted live each day from the bank of the Susquehanna River, and a motorcycle run cosponsored by Hurley’s Markets that was held in conjunction with the event provided a thunderous roar that helped to kick off a matinee of activities on Saturday that evolved into the final evening of the celebration, topped off by a large fireworks display.