River Festival Held Despite Rain

After cancelling the 2020 event as a result of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the Ronceverte River Festival returned on Friday, June 11 for its 33rd iteration. The event featured festival staples, such as the Grand Parade, and live musical performances.

However, for its return in 2021, and in addition to its more traditional fare, the Ronceverte River Festival upgraded its event schedule.

According to River Festival Committee Treasurer Ben Anderson, “There are also lots of new things this year. Sensory friendly Saturdays, a full circus, tons of vendors, the biggest fireworks display we’ve ever had and great music!”

As exciting and successful as the festival was, there was at least one disappointing turn of events.

A social media post from early Saturday afternoon stated, “The Great Rubber Ducky Race has been postponed to protect the safety of the Fire Department members, as the river is getting very high. A makeup date decision has not been made yet.

Fireworks and the remainder of the event has not been cancelled yet. Vendors are still here until late and fireworks are still possible. A final decision on fireworks will be determined by 5:00 p.m. Check soon for updates.”

Festival attendees did not have to wait long for the promised update. Less than two-hours later, a second social media post stated, “Fireworks show and music is still on! Come down to the island and enjoy! Vendors, food, games and more!”

A highlight of the festival was the Grand Parade, which was judged by West Virginia Governor and First Lady Jim and Cathy Justice, as well as Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and his wife, Denise.

On Sunday morning, an exhausted Ben Anderson told the West Virginia Daily News that the event was a “great comeback! After a full year off, the River Festival came back at full force!”

Anderson went on to say that a makeup date for the Rubber Ducky Race will be posted to the Festival’s Facebook page by Tuesday, June 15.

“At least the rain held off for the parade and fireworks display,” Anderson said. “People really enjoyed it. It was such a wonderful moment of hope for our community.”

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