Manchester hosting River Days this weekend

manriverlogoRiver town celebrating its 225th anniversary –

By Patricia Beech –

Manchester is gearing up and pulling out all the stops for its  2016 River Days celebration.
This weekend’s festival will coincide with the town’s 225th anniversary.
The village, founded in 1791 by Nathaniel Massie, was named for his  ancestral home in England.
The festivities will be held Aug. 4-6 at River Front Park and  Veterans Park on East Front Street, and at the Community Building on  Pike Avenue.
“We expect this year’s River Days to be very busy,” said Rae Ann  Wilson-Insko,one of the event organizers. “It’s also the town’s 225th anniversary, and we have a  lot of activities planned, so we’re hoping for a big turnout.”
Festival organizers are serving up a full slate of entertainment  that offers something for everyone.
“Brian Napier managed the scheduling for the festival,” said  Wilson-Insko. “It was a big job and we appreciate the work he did  coordinating all the events.”
Thursday evening the crowning of the 2016 River Days Queen and  her court will follow the opening ceremony at Veterans Park, while the  Little Miss and Mr. contest will be held at the Community Building.
Friday’s events begin at 4 p.m. at River Front Park with a  watermelon contest, a 25 cent auction, tug-o-war, bingo, fishing  tournament, and a lawn mower derby. Singers from local churches will  provide gospel music from 5-9 p.m. at Veterans Park.
Saturday kicks off early at River Front Park with a 5K race at  8 a.m., and a car show at 9 a.m. followed by the Garden Tractor Pull at 2 p.m., the Cornhole Tournament at 5 p.m., and at 5:30 the  Toilet Bowl Race on 2nd Street which Wilson-Insko says “should be  memorable”.
Michelle Bilyeu of Manchester is the contact person for entry into the Toilet Bowl Race and she is pleased with the overall celebration.
“I’m so pleased with our schedule this year,” said Bilyeu.  “Some events that we look forward to every year and some new ones that we hope become just as popular for our future River Days celebrations.”
Veterans Park will serve as the venue for the Baby Show at 9  a.m. Saturday. It will be followed by a Spelling Bee, a Pet Show, a  Talent Show, and a Lip-Syncing Competition. The Rejoice Cloggers will  perform at 3 p.m.
R.O.C.K. Zone will offer a full range of activities and  recreational games for kids at 11 a.m., as well as refreshments –  at no cost.
“We decided not to have carnival rides this year because  they haven’t been profitable for the festival the past few years,”  said Wilson-Insko. “The folks with R.O.C.K. are going to be providing  entertainment for the kids. We gave them their own area in Veterans Park where they could set up a water slide and several other  activities like those they provide in their weekend programs.”
Performances by four local bands: Leis, Patterson & Friends, Mostly  Mosley, Honey Hush, and the LAC Band at Veterans Park begin at 5  p.m. on Saturday and will be followed by a fireworks display at Riverfront Park  at 10 p.m. that caps off the celebration on the river.

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