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Riverfest is revamped

WINDOM — Riverfest is back and better than ever, running June 13-15 with a weekend jam-packed full of brand new musical acts, art shows and events in addition to some of the Riverfest classics.

Three years ago, the former Riverfest committee asked the public to help organize the annual Riverfest parade. Greg Warner, now the co-chairman of Riverfest, was one of the people that stepped forward.

“It takes about 50 people to put a parade together, but … only eight of us stepped forward to plan the parade, so the former committee did eventually decide to dissolve Riverfest in its current form,” Warner explained.

“So instead, the eight of us decided that we would take on the planning of Riverfest and give it a different structure,” he said.

The newly formed 12-person Riverfest Board of Directors has taken on the task of planning the festival without the parade.

“All of us have traditionally not been involved in the planning process, but I think this new structure will be a lot better and bring a lot of different things to Windom,” Warner said.

The Riverfest Board of Directors has created bylaws for the festival and applied for 501c3 status in order to become its own entity.

“We’ve also hired the Windom Chamber of Commerce to help with a lot of the administrative stuff,” Warner said.

Even though there will not be a parade this year, a number of musical acts and other fun events have taken its place.

“We’re concentrating on an arts and music festival theme,” Warner said. “We’ll of course have the other traditional activities, but I think everyone will enjoy the new events this year.”

Friday night will kick off with a community cookout at the Windom High School. Several bands will play throughout the night inside and outside the school, with the traditional fireworks concluding the night.

“We know that a lot of people come to watch the fireworks, so we wanted to have a community event before that,” Warner said. “We came up with the idea of a community cookout to just bring everyone together before the fireworks for some food and music.”

“There will be several bands playing for all ages — Bob and the Beachcombers, a rock’n’roll band, will be playing inside the school, and they are a fun band for elementary-age kids and parents,” he added.

The cookout begins at 5 p.m. June 13 with music playing throughout the night, and the fireworks will begin at 10:15 p.m.

During Saturday’s Riverfest events, Tegels Park on Cottonwood Lake is the place to be.

“We’ll have the annual fishing tournament as well as other sporting tournaments like softball, soccer and beach volleyball,” Warner explained. “There will also be a beer garden beginning at noon, which is something we’ve never had before, either.”

Saturday will feature a few folk bands as well as bands playing the latest Top 40 hits, and the always-popular helicopter rides will be back.

Sunday’s events will begin with the pancake breakfast at the Business Arts and Recreation Center followed by the classic car and tractor show, and new this year will be a professional water ski show at 3 p.m. at Cottonwood Lake.

“Everything we have to offer this year is quality,” Warner said. “This is our first year as a board planning this so we’re not sure what to expect, but we’re all very excited.”

The Riverfest Board of Directors meets at 5:30 p.m. every Thursday night at the Windom Area Chamber of Commerce.

The board is still looking for sponsors for the event. If interested in becoming a sponsor or looking for more information on Riverfest, contact the Windom Area Chamber of Commerce at (507) 831-2752.

Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.

Erin Trester
Erin Trester is the crime and city reporter for the Daily Globe. She's a native of Lewiston, MN, but moved to Buffalo, NY to attend college and obtained her bachelor's degree in Communications. She started at the Western New York Catholic Newspaper as a reporter in Buffalo, but in October 2013 she returned to her home state to start with the Daily Globe. Most of her spare time is taken up by her 13-year-old thoroughbred named Faith, but some of her other hobbies include reading, fishing and spending time with friends and family. 
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