Riverfest celebrates 40 years as one of Wilmington’s most popular festivals

Updated: Oct. 2, 2019 at 3:18 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Riverfest turns 40 this year.

The annual event in downtown Wilmington has contributed more than $100,000 to an endowed scholarship for the Marine Sciences program at Cape Fear Community College, in addition to contributions to various organizations that protect the river, including Cape Fear River Watch.

Riverfest was created in February 1979, by a group of Wilmingtonians interested in showcasing downtown Wilmington and the Cape Fear River.

The event was recently was named one of the seven best fall festivals in North Carolina by “Trips to Discover,” according to organizers.

“We are very excited to be celebrating our 40th Anniversary this year!" said Russ Deats, Chair of the 2019 Riverfest. "It has been quite the ride since the late 70′s, occasionally having to dodge hurricanes and tropical storms, but we never fail to have a great festival! We expect this year’s festival to continue that trend, with new vendors, new shows, a new concept for the concert venue and beer garden, and of course the popular fireworks display on Saturday night. We look forward to having you join us at North Carolina’s premier riverfront festival.”

The event includes live music. The Riverfest Concert Venue presented by Apiture, a Wilmington-based financial technology firm, will have free shows on Friday, October 4 from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Saturday, October from noon until 10:30 p.m.

Bands include both local performers and touring bands, including 20 Ride, a Zac Brown tribute band and Tuesday’s Gone, a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band.

The concerts will take place in the Ligon-Flynn Parking Lot at 20 South 2nd Street.

Danielle Dunnagan, 21, was crowned the festival queen aboard the North Carolina Battleship on Sun., Sept. 22. She received a $1,000 scholarship.

The CFCC student is enrolled in the EMT/first responder program at the college and hopes to be accepted into the nursing program.

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