BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – For the first time since the rejuvenation of Riverfest in 2016, and more than a decade in Fort Madison, Dragon Boat racing is back on the riverfront as part of Riverfest 2018.
The river races which are wildly popular, drawing large crowds throughout the country, pit two boats against each other in timed heats against the current of the mighty Mississippi River.
The races are just part of the 2018 lineup that Riverfest games co-coordinator Shanna Krogmeier said is being scheduled this year to allow participants to enter multiple events and transitioning into some of the best live music in the area.
“We’re doing things a little bit different this year,” Krogmeier said. “We’ve moved the bags to Sunday because we thought that event coupled with Colt Ford would make for a great Sunday afternoon and evening of fun and entertainment.”
Krogmeier said everyone can register for any of the RiverFest games prior to July 27th on the Riverfest webpage at www.riverfestfm.com under the Riverfest Games link at the top menu bar.
“The volleyball tournament, which was a huge hit last year, and KanJam will be on Saturday and we really want to push those two events for Saturday,” she said. “The KanJam tournament sees growth every year and we’re hoping this year with the musical lineup that event draws more interest.”
She said there are good discounts for registering early on the website and that allows the games committee to better prepare for each day’s events.
“But if they show up on the day of we will do our best to get them in and registered,” she said.
With Riverfest games happening from Thursday evening through Sunday, Krogmeier said scheduling has been set up to allow people to participate in more than one event including the dragon boat racing.
“We’re hoping for a good draw from that. It’s a popular event and we’ve set our schedules to allow people to compete in that as well as the other games,” she said.
She said all the registration money is paid back in the form of prize money and the Riverfest games makes no money, but is all part of providing a fun and friendly experience that has something for the whole family.
A complete list of the Riverfest games is below.
Dragon Boat Racing – Saturday, Aug. 4th (Practice Friday, Aug. 3) For the first time in more than a decade Dragon Boat Racing will be returning to the riverfront. Registration is open so grab 20 of your closest friends and form a team today. Teams consist of 18 Paddlers, 1 Flag Catcher and $500 per team until June 1st, $600 – After June 1st. Race regulations and scheduling information is available at the Dragon Boat Race link under RiverFest Games on the Riverfest website.
Beer Pong – Qualifier for the Las Vegas Beer Pong Championship takes place Thursday, August 2nd in the Kinnick South Beer Pong Pavilion. Open play and tournament action will take place from 4 p.m. to midnight or until completion at the pavilion. Those interested in participating can do so.
5K Run/Walk – The Riverfest 5k Fun Run/Walk is along the Mississippi river in Fort Madison, has absolutely beautiful views and is an ideal event for the entire family. All participants will receive a race t-shirt. Awards will be given to the overall male and female winners, as well as 1st and 2nd place male and female in each age division. Registration forms and release information are available now through July 25 on the RiverFest website at www.riverfestfm.com. Registration is $25 through July 25th and $35 after the 25th.
Sand Volleyball Saturday, Aug 4 – Online registration is $50.00 and closes July 27th. Day of registration is $60.00. $50.00 Entry fee is for a team of 6. Registration begins at 8:30am. Games start at 9:00am and all participants must fill out a RiverFest Sports Participant Waiver. All ages can play, under 18 must have a signed permission form. This is a rain or shine recreational CO-ED 6-on-6 (two females minimum on court) double elimination tournament that will be limited to the first 24 teams. Matches will be best of 3 with a 100% Cash payback to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.
Bags Tournament, Sunday, Aug. 5- The bag tournament has been changed to Sunday to accomodate for the addition of the Dragon Boat Races on Saturday and to add some competition to the day before The NATU Band and Colt Ford take the Main Stage. Online registration is $20.00 for a team of two and closes July 27th. Day of registration is $30.00. Registration begins at noon with games starting at 2 p.m. in the entertainment area. Participants must have a concert ticket for entry. The double-elimination tournament will be capped at 64 teams that can be made up of an combination of male and/or female participants of all ages. There will be a 100% cash payback for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. Regulation boards were created by Cabinetion and Dodd Printing of Fort Madison and all-weather bags will be used in the rain or shine event. Play will stop for lightning or downpours.
KANJAM, Saturday, Aug. 4 – Online registration for a team of two is $20.00 and closes July 27th. Day of registration is $30.00 with registration beginning at 9:30 a.m. and games at 10 a.m. Recreational double elimination tournament is limited to first 64 teams which can consist of any combination of male and/or female contestants of any age and will be best of three, five, or seven depending on the number of teams registered. 100% cash payback to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams. Hinder and Pop Evil will highlight the Main Stage entertainment after the Saturday games.
Canoe/Kayak Float, Saturday, Aug. 5 – The float will start in front of the Old Fort on the Mississippi River. Boats are to be unloaded at 8 a.m. with paddling at 9 a.m. sharp. Safety boats from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and RiverFest will be on site in addition to coordination with the US Coast Guard. This is a free, all ages event. There will be limited boats and Stand up Paddle boards available for rent. Once rentals are available use the reservation form that will be located here to reserve your boat.
All participants of RiverFest games must complete and sign a waiver form located on any Riverfest games link on the www.riverfestfm.com webpage. Space is provided for tents for most of the games and no outside alcohol is allowed. Coolers are allowed and will be checked. Participants under 18 must have a consent form signed by parent or guardian.