Adventures in Starved Rock Country – Riverfest!
Happy Almost Weekend
This week marks the anniversary of my move to the Ottawa area….21 years ago! What an adventure it has been, but one of the main reasons I remember the week that I moved into Ottawa was the town was all in a ‘buzz’ because it was their Annual Riverfest! Everyone I met (locals that is) told me I had to go to Riverfest? Hhmmmmm, music, food and beer…what more could a 20-something ask for:))
I learned that Riverfest was that annual event that people planned their summer vacation around to ensure they were in town for the Fest. For those that had moved away from the area it was this week they made their way home for the event. This year Riverfest celebrates its 48th year. Through the years I have watched the event become stagnant years ago and now I am enjoying as new leadership of the event are resurrecting the event by keeping some tradition yet moving other areas to the next level. Though it sounds cliché, there is ‘a little bit of everything and something for everyone.’ Riverfest isn’t one day or one night of events but a series of things going on from sidewalk sales to martial arts demonstration; from carnival rides to crafts and the schedule goes on for the next three days.
Who doesn’t love a great parade which culminates the event on Sunday. (Here’s a little parade trivia….the mural on the side of The Beehive Restaurant (across from the courthouse) depicts a town parade in Ottawa. The artist wove prominent citizens and familiar faces in the painting as marchers or bystanders. For example, our current Mayor, Bob Eschbach, is drawn as the little boy on his father’s shoulder watching the parade based on the age he would have been in the 1950’s era). Parades brought people together, and brought them to a vibrant and bustling downtown, just like Riverfest.
Sorry I digressed for a moment…back to Riverfest—The carnival rides are set up so the little rides are segregated from the big rides so no one gets trampled on:) Though the carnival rides, food and music is closer to the Riverfront or Jordan Block, there is plenty of things happening in Washington Square which then is easily connected to the Jordan Block by way of passing along all the sidewalk sales, crafts and flea markets.
Want to know what’s cookin’ you can check out the Taste of Ottawa and the Chef’s Block, featuring our very own, Tracy’s Boat House. Other restaurants featured are C230, Muffy’s, R Grottos, Woody’s Steakhouse, Monte’s, Culvers, DiDoughs and all other carnival favorites. The Chef Block runs from 6pm–12am Friday and Saturday.
The biggest attraction and improvement to the event is the Music Line Up. The Bands start at 7 each night. Friday’s lineup begins with Lizzi Neal Band and 90’s Daughter(band for Chicago Blackhawks) and the Young Turks, a Rod Stewart tribute band. Saturday’s lineup includes Cheap Thrill, featuring members of Collective Soul and Cinderella, Fergie Frederiksen and the Heartbreaker Band, featuring the former lead singer of Toto and the Handcuffs featuring Brad Elvis from the Romantics. The music event concludes on Sunday with Fleetwood Nicks and Heart Alive, at tribute to Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks and Heart.
Since you all have adopted Ottawa as your ‘home’ I encourage you to partake in its Annual ‘Come Home’ Celebration at this year’s Riverfest. For a complete schedule of events and more information on Riverfest please visit www.ottawariverfest.org
See you at Riverfest 2013!
Heritage Harbor Ottawa
1851 Old Chicago Road
Ottawa, IL 61350
Cell: (815) 252-3113
Office: (815) 433-5000
Fax: (815) 431-8123