TOWANDA BOROUGH — It’s that time of year again. The 32nd Annual Riverfest celebration on Merrill Parkway in Towanda Borough will kick off this Thursday evening.

New attractions at this year’s event are aimed to more family-oriented fun with the addition of a kid’s fun run on Saturday morning and a Big Wheels drag race on Saturday afternoon. The fun run, a one mile run/walk course for ages 13 and under, will be held at the conclusion of the 5k run/walk. The drag race will also be available for big kids and adults as well as the little ones. Racers on three wheel bikes will drag race line to line in a single elimination tournament with the overall winner receiving a cash prize and the winner of the youngest class receiving a Big Wheel of their own.

“We’re pretty excited about the 5k and Big Wheel races,” organizer Dalton Maynard said. “It’s a new exciting change of pace.”

Returning to the celebration this year after a successful run last year will be a free-entry karaoke contest with prizes for the top vocalists on Friday evening, a Zumba class with Doreen Secor Saturday afternoon, and The Hill Speedway Race Car Show on Saturday afternoon.

The race car show, which shows off vehicles used at races at The Hill Speedway in Franklin Township, was one of the biggest attractions last year according to organizers of the event.

With all of the physical activity going on, there will be plenty of food options available at the celebration to fuel up. The classic fried fair foods will be on hand, as well as local fare like pizza, the Towanda junior high football team selling hamburgers and hot dogs, fire company chickens, and smoked meats. There will also be plenty of sweet options with ice cream vendors planned.

If you want to sit back and relax while all of that food digests, you’ll have plenty of opportunities with numerous musical performances, entertainers, the Lion’s Club hay rides, and of course, Riverfest’s famous Saturday night fireworks.

“The fireworks are the best in the area, as always,” organizer Stacy Schoonover said.

Thursday night, Red Eyes Band, a local six member alternative rock band, will be performing. Then Friday night, after the karaoke contest, the Touch of Grey Band featuring Payton Clark, a 15-year-old singer-songwriter from Corning, New York, will be performing classic rock numbers. The Country Connection Line Dancers, the Electric Sunshine Band, Nate the Great, and M&S Band featuring Melvin Heeman and Skip Swackhamer will all be performing on the event’s flagship day, Saturday, followed by the fireworks.

“We’re all excited to see everything come into action and Saturday night come,” Maynard added.

Also, throughout the celebration pretty baby and cutest pet contests will be held. The contests are photos only.

A timeline of the planned events is as follows:

Thursday, Aug 15

5:45: Opening Ceremony

6:00: Maggi Frawley Dancers

6:00: Midway Opens (Special Wristband Price....$8.00)

6:00: Bingo

7:00: Karaoke Contest (18 & over, sign ups start at 6:00)

7:00: Red Eyes Band

Friday, Aug 16

6:00: Bingo

6:00: Midway Opens (Tickets only)

6:00: Open Karaoke (all ages)

7:00: Touch of Grey Band featuring Payton Clark

Saturday, Aug 17

7:30 AM: 5K Run/Walk Registration

8:30 AM: 5K Run/Walk Starts

10:00 AM: Zumba

10:30 AM: Kids Fun Run

12:00 PM: Big Wheels Drag Race Registration

1:00 PM: Big Wheels Drag Race

1:00 PM: The Hill Speedway Race Car Show

1:00 PM: Midway Opens (special wristband price till 5:00 PM....$8.00)

2:00 PM: Country Connection Line Dancers

4:00 PM: Electric Sunshine Band

6:00 PM: Nate The Great

7:00 PM: M&S Band featuring Melvin Heeman & Skip Swackhamer

9:30 PM: Fireworks Show (Fire Over Water)’

Riverfest kicks off 5:45 p.m. Thursday evening with the opening ceremonies lead by Towanda Borough Mayor Garrett Miller, state rep. Tina Pickett (R-110), and the color guard. Merrill Parkway will be closed at 10 a.m. on Wednesday through the closing of the event. There are no pets and no alcohol allowed at the event.

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