One of the Grand Strand’s premier festivals is celebrating its 31st year this weekend.
The 2011 Waccamaw Riverfest takes place in Historic Downtown Conway, a town approximately 15 miles west of the coastline, and features a full slate of fun.
Once called Conway’s Fourth of July celebration, then ’Round the Fourth and now Riverfest, the festival is Conway’s longest-running event and celebrates Independence Day with festivities for the entire family.
The Horry Independent began the festival in 1980 and it has been a tradition every year since.
Events begin Saturday with a golf cart parade and cap off with a fireworks finale. In between are some truly unique affairs including a Jello Jump, Raft Race and plenty of live music across two different stages.
The main stage will be located in Rivefront Park and will host music including Backfire, Too Tight Band, "The Grand Strand's Best Cover Band" The Mullets, and Beach music legends The Catalinas.
Over on the family stage, located at the Peanut Warehouse near the Main Street Bridge, there will be a variety of entertainmen including Dance from the Conway Superstars, young musicians performing with Carl’s Father & Son Young Musicians Camp and Dino's School of Rock and live music by Red, White & Bluegrass, Connor Singleton & Reagan Hill and Gabbie Rae.
“Riverfest is special because of the heart and soul that Conway business people put into making this event
great for the folks who attend,” Bridgette Johnson, executive director for the Conway Chamber of Commerce, said. “Conway really steps up to the plate.”
The Family Playground Pavilion will be located near the Peanut Warehouse this year and will feature the Jell-O Jump, face painting by Donnie, a balloon dart trailer game, inflatables, a rockwall, bungee trampoline, water walkers, camel rides, pony rides, a petting zoo and a water balloon game.
This year’s event is co-sponsored by Pepsi Bottling Ventures, HTC and The City of Conway.
All areas with the exception of the peninsula within the Riverfront Park are zoned alcohol free. Visitors are also welcome to take a stroll through the Artisans Market and Business Expo.
Bridgette Johnson, executive director for the Conway Chamber, said the chamber is excited to have a big crowd for the Riverfest celebration.
“We’re thrilled with the range of exhibitors participating in the Artisans Market and the Business Expo to get more people to come to the celebration,” she said. “A few of the crafters are traveling in from out of state, so we hope that they are pleased with the 10,000+ festival-goers who come out for Riverfest each year.”
More information about the 2011 Riverfest is available by visiting www.conwayscchamber.com/Riverfest or by calling the Conway Chamber office at 248-2273 or 866-566-9336.