Rices Landing Riverfest Set to Kick Off the Summer

Washington PA Observer-Reporter
30 May 2016
By Bob Niedbala

Rices Landing will celebrate the start of summer June 10 and 11 with its annual Riverfest.

The festival, held each year on the lock wall of the former Rices Landing Lock and Dam on the Monongahela River, will feature live music, fireworks activities for children and a host of food and crafts vendors.

“It’s a family event and a music festival combined,” said Ryan Belski, president of the Rices Landing Volunteer Fire Co., which organizes the annual festival.

Normally, families and children come to the festival during the early hours while the evenings tend to attract more of an older crowd, he said.

The festival serves as a fundraiser for the fire department but also for the many local organizations that set up tables or booths each year to sell food or other items, Belski said. This year, the festival expects to have more than 50 vendors.

Riverfest was first organized in 1976 to celebrate Greene County’s bicentennial. It was held each year, except in 1986 and 1987, when flooding on the Mon damaged the lock wall. It was discontinued following the 2005 festival.

The fire department revived the event in 2013 and it has been a success, Belski said.

“Even though it rained both days (last year), with severe thunderstorms both days, we had more than 3,000 people,” he said.

Riverfest will be held from 5 p.m. to midnight on Friday, June 10 and from 1 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, June 11. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children 12 and younger each day.

As part of the festival, the historic W.A. Young Foundry and Machine Shop, unchanged since the days it served the riverboat and mining industries, will be open to the public.

Activities featured both days include children’s games, face painting and balloon tying. A magician also will be on hand to entertain the crowd. Fireworks will be at 10 p.m. each night.

Opening ceremonies for Riverfest will be at 6:15 p.m. on June 10. Entertainment that evening will include the band Hit n Run at 6:30 p.m.; and Michael Christopher at 9:30 p.m.

On June 11, the Grable and Reeves Band will perform at 2 p.m.; the Fourth River Band at 4:30 p.m.; and the band Ruff Creek at 7:30 p.m.

American Idol contestant Issac Cole will take the stage at 9 p.m.; and be followed by The Hillbilly Way at 9:45 p.m.

Parking for the festival will be available at Pumpkin Run Park and along the Main Street of Rices Landing. Additional parking will be at the Rices Landing Fire Hall and, if needed, the Rices Landing American Legion. A free shuttle service will be available to and from those lots.

The main sponsor for the festival this year is again Chevron.