By Vicki Ikeogu
For the past 11 years, Alex Duran knows exactly where he will be at the start of Monitcello’s Riverfest: Pioneer Park.
Duran, the chair of the Cool Car Cruising and Display, has been hard at work securing on average 175 cars – not to mention tractors, motorcycles and trucks – to help kick off Riverfest in style.
“Each year you’re going to see some old classic cars, the ones that were just well kept,” Duran said. “But then you’ll also see some newer cars and some souped up cars as well.”
And during his years as volunteer chair, Duran has seen his share of unique entries.
“One year, there was a guy who came in with his Shelby GT500 that ran on nitrous oxide,” Duran said. “It was running with racing fuel. That was a pretty cool car. And another year this guy had brought in an 8500 horsepower RX-8. That was a beast of a machine.”
The free event not only draws fully restored vehicles, but project cars in all stages.
“It’s nice seeing all of these cars,” Duran said. “The project cars in progress, the ones that are finished. And it’s great being around people that just love cars.”
If cars don’t get your motor running, Pioneer Park still has plenty of family friendly activities going on.
“There’s just a lot of cool variety on Thursday,” said Dave Wik, Riverfest 5K race coordinator.
From 5:30 until 8 p.m. on July 13, hundreds of families venture down to Pioneer Park to partake in dozens of activities.
“(Thursday) is just really geared toward families,” said Marcy Anderson, Monticello Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s Director. “There’s a petting zoo, Airrmaxx Trampoline is there and there is face painting.”
Events slated for Thursday also include kids’ games, pony rides and a canine demonstration from the Wright County Sheriff’s Department.
The Monticello Royal Ambassador candidates will also be in Pioneer Park, handing out temporary tattoos.
And of course, one of the main attractions on Thursday – the pie eating contest – will have participants diving head first into decadent desserts at 6 p.m.
Joe Carlson, owner of radio station KRWC-AM 1360, will broadcast live Thursday from Pioneer Park as part of the station’s Road Show.
“We’ve been doing Riverfest for about 26 years,” Carlson said. “We go to every town celebration.”
During the two-hour Road Show, Carlson said the station will sponsor hula hoop contests and give out prizes.
Roseanne Duran, Duck Adoption chairperson, said her favorite part of Thursday’s festivities is the Home Depot Kids’ Workshop. The Monticello Home Depot store staffs and funds free projects for kids to build and take home.
“You have to see all those children building tool boxes and birdhouses donated by Home Depot,” she said. “There’s so much pounding.”
Hope Evangelical Free Church will be on hand to provide snow cones, sloppy joes and root beer floats to help fill hungry bellies of all ages.
Pioneer Park is located along School Boulevard at Fallon Avenue. Parking is available at Little Mountain Elementary School, 9350 Fallon Ave.
“Thursday is truly a family event,” said Roger Miller, assistant scout master for Boy Scout Troop 270. “You really are encouraged to bring the kids.”
Vicki Ikeogu is a freelance feature and business writer for the Monticello Times.