Organizers partner with River Rat Poker Run for Duck Derby event –
By Patricia Beech –
The annual Manchester River Days will kick off on Thursday Aug. 2 at 5 p.m. with American Legion veterans and Ladies Auxiliary members hosting the Opening Day ceremony at the village’s riverside park.
“We’re expecting a good turn out this year,” said organizer JoAnn Hilderbrand. “We’ve got more vendors coming, we’ve got six blow-up inflatables for the kids, and lots of music every day, plus a quarter auction, a silent auction, a cake sale, a raffle, and right now an online auction for a grouping of Dale Earnhardt collectibles on the Manchester River Days webpage where anyone can bid for it.”
The festival’s Queen pageant will be held at the Manchester Community Building at 6 p.m. on Thursday and will be followed by the selection of the Venture Production festival Queen and King.
“The fair had an event this year that gave folks from Venture Production an opportunity to show animals, and I thought it would be wonderful to have that sort of inclusion at our festival,” says Hilderbrand. “The people from Venture can participate in the pageant and they can also compete in the talent show and in the Cornhole tournament, free of charge. I’m hoping other festivals will also jump on this band wagon.”
According to Hilderbrand, all vendor’s booths will be open for business on Friday, Aug. 3 from 11 a.m. to closing, and festivalgoers can enjoy a day-long concert of performers on the center stage including: Terry Metcalf from 2 – 4 p.m.; Glass Eye from 5 – 7:30 p.m.; and Smokey Road from 7:30 to closing.
Saturday kicks off with a 5K run at 7 a.m.; a Car Show and a Baby Show at 9 a.m.; the Little Miss and Mister Show at 10 a.m.; the Junior Miss and Mister Show at 11 a.m. and Manchester’s Got Talent at noon. Center-stage entertainment will be provided by Steve Free from 1 – 2:30 p.m.
The Grand Parade begins at 3 p.m. and will be led by Grand Marshal Jimmy Kimmerly, a World War II veteran who survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 75 years ago.
Hilderbrand says she’s still working on recruiting parade cars to carry Kimmerly and the festival’s royalty in Saturday’s parade.
Also on Saturday, the River Rat Poker Run and Duck Derby will be held from 1 – 5 p.m. at the boat dock on the east end of town. Duck Derby tickets are available from Manchester River Days members and the Manchester River Rats members.
“They have the Poker Run every year at this time, so we’ve decided to work together this year,” says Hilderbrand. “We’re promoting their event and they’re going to sell Duck Derby tickets for us, the winner gets their money, and what’s left will be split between us and that’s a real plus for our festival.”
Entertainment on Saturday begins at 2:30 p.m. with Acoustics by Dusty Chamblin; at 3:30 p.m. Mama Tam’s Blues Band; and Black Water Soul from 8 p.m. to closing. Fireworks begin at dusk.
Additionally, a 50/50 drawing and numerous raffles will be held throughout the day on Saturday.
Sunday services will be held by Pastor Randy Osman beginning at 10 a.m. There will also be a day-long gospel songfest and vendors will remain open throughout the day.