BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – As part of setting up a list of national acts for RiverFest 2018, the committee organizing the event is collaborating with Vinnie’s Longbranch to give a regional band a shot to take the stage before the national acts perform.
As part of a Battle of the Bands, the RiverFest committee and Vinnie’s Longbranch are incorporating a Battle of the Charities to coincide with the event. The group is also looking for a sponsor for the event and the sponsorship fee will go to the charity that raises the most money.
The event is set for May 27th, the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. Right now plans for the event would include five judges determining which band will perform on the main stage. A second-place finisher may be invited to play on the entertainment stage. The event is free to the public, but there is an opportunity for attendees to donate to one of three charities upon entrance to the event. The charities would get the money and the charity that makes the most money that day would get the sponsorship fees as well.
As part of Sunday’s list of events, the Veterans’ Honor Flight program will once again be the recipients of an American Legion breakfast on Sunday morning.
For the first time ever, Dragon Boat racing will be part of Riverfest and proceeds from that event will benefit a veterans’ service dog program, called Puppy Jakes out of Urbandale.
Authentic boats from the American Dragon Boat Association will be on hand for teams of 20 to race down the Mississippi River. Nick Bauswell is chairing that event. Bauswell has been dragon boat racing for more than a decade and has already had interest from groups as far away as Cedar Rapids.
The boats hold 18 paddlers, a drummer, and a flag catcher. A sternsman is provided by the ADBA. Entry fee is $500 prior to May 1st and $600 after May 1st. Sponsorships are available that include entry fees. Bauswell said forming teams are a great way to develop teamwork or organizational team building.
This year’s event promises national rock talent headlining the main stage, the carnival returns, and food and commercial vendors will also be on site for visitors to the festival.
The committee is holding a blowout announcement party on March 10 beginning at 6 p.m. at Kinnick South in Fort Madison. Those in attendance will also be eligible to get raffle tickets for a VIP weekend package that will be drawn at the announcement party.
The committee has already released this year’s beer tent bands with 1970s tribute band Jive Radio on Thursday evening. Then on to the 80s and 90s best rock with Decade of Decadence on Friday. Finally, for the first time in southeast Iowa…eastern Illinois Rockers X-Krush will keep the energy up on Saturday Night.
The RiverFest games will be similar to last year, highlighted by the Sand Volleyball tournament, the KanJam tournament, a Bags tournament, and the return of the World Series of Beer Pong with a qualifier taking place at Kinnick South again and the main event at RiverFest.
Tickets for this year’s entertainment will feature 4-day admission passes for $35, available at area retailers and Ticketfly.com . Tickets will be $40 at the gate.
There are 4-day VIP tickets for $55 in advance and individual day a la carte VIP passes will be $10 at the gate until sold out. Single day tickets for any day are $25 (available only at Ticketfly.com) and $30 at the gate each day.
Tickets will be available at Kinnick South in Fort Madison on March 10th and at area retailers and Ticketfly.com on March 11th.