Riverfest: A couple of additions and one big change make a good thing great

Many people would never change something that’s already good. Riverfest 2012 did just that. And for taking a chance, they were rewarded.

See, for years, Riverfest has had a working pattern. A small addition every couple of years adds to the fun, but rarely alters people’s plans.

This year, the changes got a bit more noticeable. Riverfest added a beanbag tournament as well as a large kids park to their “in the park” festivities. They brought in a new band. And the big change was they moved the fireworks from the customary Sunday night slot to a more prime-time setting, shooting them off Friday night after the talent show.

Nearly every change seemed to be well received, particularly the fireworks.

“It’s been the most positive feedback I think we’ve ever heard from a change,” said Dan Anselment, chair of the 2012 Riverfest.

Dan Ciatti caught this photo of a smiley face  burst during the fireworks show on Friday night.

Dan Ciatti caught this photo of a smiley face burst during the fireworks show on Friday night.

“We had another great show,” said Mayor Clint Herbst. “It really flowed nice this year.”The show wrapped up just after 9:30, allowing people time to set themselves up around the high school for the bright light show that featured plenty of smiles – both on the ground and in the air.

While the other new additions may not have impacted quite as many people, they did all have a positive impact.

The inaugural beanbag tournament had a field of 45 teams, an impressive showing after officials were concerned with low preregistration numbers.

“It exceeded our expectations,” said Anselment, before remarking that it’s another tradition that will likely be carried on to next year and beyond.

The highest-profile change behind fireworks was likely the addition of a new band at the street dance. Outside Recess made their Riverfest debut. Riverfest officials said they had many requests to get the band here for this Riverfest, and that people are already clamoring to have them back for next year.

“The band did a wonderful job,” said Herbst. “It’s fun to see a lot of people having a good time.”

The car show on Thursday night at Pioneer Park provided an opportunity for gear heads and novices to marvel at fancy cars, some brand new, and many that were brand new before much of the crowd was born. (Photo by Clay Sawatzke)

The car show on Thursday night at Pioneer Park provided an opportunity for gear heads and novices to marvel at fancy cars, some brand new, and many that were brand new before much of the crowd was born. (Photo by Clay Sawatzke)

As for other changes, such as adding a kids’ park to Art in the Park, and moving the pie-eating contest to Thursday night, they all seemed to generate big crowds and positive reviews.

Riverfest is always good. It’s always memorable.

But organizers this year showed that with a couple small tweaks and exciting additions, Riverfest can quickly become great and unforgettable.

The Monticello High School Marching Band made a return to performing after a multi-year absence.

The Monticello High School Marching Band made a return to performing after a multi-year absence.

  • Brent & Shirley Norlem

    Delightful, well-presented feel-good feature! It made us proud of Monticello!

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