RiverFest lives up to intent

File photo The toy train makes its return as one of the children’s activities at RiverFest.

File photo
The toy train makes its return as one of the children’s activities at RiverFest.

When he was chair of the Town of Cornwall’s Economic Development Committee, Wynn Gold came up with an idea to boost tourism. Thus, RiverFest was born. Twenty years later, the annual riverfront festival continues to draw visitors from around the county, as well as from other states.

“I don’t think any of us planned on doing this for 20 years when we first started,” Gold said, “but we’re still having fun. We have a formula that works. People come down for the entertainment, others because they like craft fairs. The kids’ activities have grown exponentially.”

RiverFest, held every year on the first Saturday in June, runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Donahue Memorial Park. Visitors are welcome to park at Cornwall Middle School, on Main Street, where five shuttle buses will be running on a continuous loop, throughout the day, bringing guests to and from the festival.

As of last week, 71 vendors had submitted applications to participate. The festival set a record with 95 vendors last year and Gold is confident that number will be reached again.

“As we get closer and people can look at long-range weather forecasts, we’ll have a flurry of applications,” said Gold.

Around the 85 vendor mark, the applicants will be scrutinized a bit closer. The goal is to include someone who will bring something unique and interesting, rather than a repeat of another vendor’s wares.

Among the interesting notables, Gold said one vendor will offer handmade pottery while another is selling handcrafted greeting cards. Bernadette will again be present to give tarot readings.

“There’s an interesting mix of things for people to look at and also opportunities for them to make purchases if they choose to,” said Gold.

The musical line-up includes a couple of old favorites, the West Point Steel Band and Out of the Blue, returning after a short absence. Soul City, Some Guys and a Broad, and the Somerville Brothers are all returning from last year.

Also returning will be Story Laurie and the toy train. New to the festival will be an inflatable miniature golf course. Magic Rachel is also a new addition. She not only will perform her own magic show, but will be wandering the park grounds on stilts.

Debuting at the festival will be Wandering Dave’s Rustic Spoon and Fork in the Road. The food truck will offer a sampling of gourmet food. Pies on Wheels will be selling wood-fired pizza while Storm King Engine Company will be grilling hot dogs and hamburgers.

Short of gale-force winds, the festival will be held rain or shine.

There is no charge for RiverFest.  Visitors are invited to bring a blanket or lawn chair.

Visit river-fest.com for up to date information and vendor applications.

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Jason Kaplan