Festival offers flip-side fun for kids with must-do ROCK recreation –
By Patricia Beech –
Rain and shine, Manchester festival-goers made their way to the village parks on Front Street last weekend to celebrate the town’s 225th anniversary at the 2016 River Days.
Even though the weather didn’t always work in their favor, Manchester’s faithful braved the off-and-on rain showers that kept some visitors away.
“We had a low count Friday because of the rain,” said festival organizer JoAnn Hilderbrand. “But Saturday we had 1,500 people come out for the activities and fireworks. Everybody seemed to have a great time.”
The festivities began Thursday evening with the crowning of the River Days Queen and her court. Gabi Lainhart was crowned Queen of the festival, Kayle Thomas won First Runner-Up, Second Runner-Up went to Miranda Schiltz, and the Third Runner-Up was Miranda Jackson.
T he pageantry continued with the selection of River Days Little Miss, Little Mr. and Jr. Miss. Marjorie Ruth Insko was crowned the festival’s Little Miss, Zaylee McClanahan won First Runner-Up, and Karlee Collins was named Second Runner-Up. In the Junior Miss competition, Miss Emma Nehus won the crown and and and Serenity Fisher was First Runner-Up.
A 5K Run and Baby Show kicked off a full slate of activities on Saturday including a recreational and activity area for kids sponsored by Manchester’s ROCK organization.
“ROCK’s first River Days was a success,” said ROCK founder Michael Reno. “Manchester kids have always been well behaved at our events and that makes it such a pleasure for us to work with them. We had a good turnout for our Spelling Bee, Talent Show and Watermelon Eating Contest, but our main attractions were the huge inflatables which included a large water slide.”
“I was really pleased to see ROCK so heavily involved in River Days,” said Manchester village Councilman C.L. Skip Wagner. “What they provided for the children was an amazing service.”
According to Manchester Village Clerk Rae Ann Wilson-Insko, donations from the River Days committee and local businesses and organizations made it possible for ROCK to provide the large inflatables which replaced the usual carnival rides. “In recent years carnival rides haven’t been very profitable for River Days so we thought we’d ask ROCK to step in and provide activities for the kids,” said Wilson-Insko.
Reno praised the committee’s efforts to provide an area exclusively for the children and said ROCK plans to be more involved with the planning in coming years. “They really did a great job,” he said. “We don’t judge the success of our events by attendance, we judge it by the amount of smiles we see throughout the day, and the committee was very helpful with that.”
The festival concluded Saturday night with a fireworks display at River Front Park.
“We owe a special thanks to the Manchester Fire Department, the volunteers, and those who donated to ensure that the fireworks display would be as good as ever,” said Councilman Wagner. “It is one of the best displays in all the county.”