No need for dismay, non-shoppers! Not only are there plenty of other activities to take part in at RivahFest, but sometimes our connection to The Shopper can even be a blessing. Peyton Guest, chair of the Car Show committee, says that his car-aficionado visitors love that the festival is full of shopping opportunities. Guest says, “These car guys, they’re always dragging their wives to auto events all year, or they leave them at home because the ladies aren’t that interested in automobiles. One of the reasons they’ve told us they look forward to RivahFest every year is that their wives take off to shop, happy as can be, while they spend most of their day in the area of the Antique Cars and Hot Rods.”
2. The Kid
RivahFest boasts an active Kids’ Area on the lawn of the St. Margaret’s campus, with rides, slides, and children’s activities galore. This is always one of the most-visited zones of the
festival, even for those that don’t have kids, because who doesn’t like to see the young ones having fun? Besides, the dunking booth is also nearby, and “kids” of all ages will stop by all day to watch local celebrities take their turn getting soaked in the dunking booth; now that’s what we call good clean fun.
3. The Social One
One of the best things about RivahFest is undoubtedly the opportunity to spend time with the great folks of Essex County. The day of the festival, locals will get to catch up with friends they haven’t seen all year. Whether just walking around downtown or spending time in the beer and wine garden listening to this year’s all-new entertainment lineup, those social types will find there’s never a dull moment. The gospel stage, last year’s newest hit, is another sure-fire gathering spot for those who appreciate good company.
4. The Food-Lover
Would it be stretching it to say that some visitors come out to
RivahFest only to eat? Probably not, according to Tastes of Tappahannock chair Bruce Thomas, “We’re always hearing from our visitors that they make sure to come to RivahFest with an empty stomach,” says Thomas, “because they have a long list of foods they don’t want to miss out on.”
Festival foods like cotton candy, funnel cakes, corn dogs, and lemonade make the event fun, but it’s the seafood and southern dishes that really bring the gourmet out to RivahFest. For the Food Lover, oysters, crab cakes, soft shell crabs, signature barbeque sandwiches, and fried chicken and fish are more than just a meal—they’re the main attraction.
5. The Competitor
Some folks just can’t resist a good competition and RivahFest doesn’t disappoint in that area. Starting out first thing in the morning on June 16 is the 5K run, which is sure to bring the area’s athletic types out to the festival. During the day, there are other events that require their own brand of skill and talent such as—the Cornhole Tournament, which grows in popularity each year, and the golf Hole-In-One on the water, which has always been a favorite event. But for those who prefer their challenges a little more on the unpredictable side, there’s always the Rotary Crab Race just for fun (yes, here we spray crabs with water guns) and the $1,000 Rubber Duck Race on the Rappahannock River, which only requires buying the lucky ticket.
6. The Traveler
Festival planners have discovered that RivahFest isn’t just an event for locals anymore. Over the years, word has spread about not just the festival, but about the beauty and gracious nature of our community, and visitors come from all around. “We’ve had visitors coming from Richmond, Fredericksburg, and all over Virginia for years,” says RivahFest co-chair Kristen Morris, “but now we’re also finding that people are traveling from Maryland and other states because they really like the atmosphere here. It’s also a great time to plan a reunion with family or former classmates, because so many people are going to be in town for RivahFest anyway.”
7. The Humanitarian
With all the celebration that takes place on the day of RivahFest, it may be easy to forget that it’s actually fun with a purpose. Volunteers from the community, including adults, teens, scout groups, and public servants have been working for months to make sure the event is fun, safe, and has a happy outcome for the community as a whole. Proceeds from RivahFest events go back into the area in the form of community grants that are handed down throughout the year to causes and organizations that benefit the people of Tappahannock and Essex County. This year, when you’re having fun at the festival, look for those people in the conspicuous RivahFest T-shirts, and remember that the T-Shirt is their “pay” for their hard work year-round. If you take a moment to add your smile and a “Thank You” to these folks, they just got a raise!
Of course, not every visitor to RivahFest can be categorized as any single “type” of character. But combined, those that
gather at this community festival every year make up a great group of folks with a variety of interests, backgrounds, and talents. They do a wonderful job of representing Tappahannock and Essex County and the best they have to offer, and they also make it one of the most enjoyable places to be all year, anywhere on the planet. For further information, please go to www.rivahfest.com. Hope to see you there!!!