Community News
Go Back

Getting wet & wild during 2013 RiverFest

Special to the Courier

Event coordinator Genie Strickland recently noted, "My office looks like RiverFest exploded in it!" This Saturday, June 29, that controlled chaos will be transferred to the banks of the Medina River for Bandera's annual celebration of summer, hosted by the Bandera Business Association.

Throughout the Texas Hill County, Bandera RiverFest has become the ultimate river party, and, according to those who keep coming back, it gets bigger and better every year!

Not surprisingly, visitors are encouraged to wear swimsuits and river shoes and jump feet first into some great fun. Water activities include the river rodeo, kayak races and river rescue race, among others.

The competitions are free and easy to enter - and not special equipment is required. Medina River Company provides the tubes and kayaks.

For those who love a beach, there's Bandera Coastline. Donated by Bandera Rock & Road, it's the perfect place to unwind with fun, sun and lots of sand - minus the crabs! So grab a shovel and bucket and build a sandcastle or just play with a beach ball or Frisbee. A good time is always guaranteed on Bandera Coastline.

Of course a day by the river wouldn't be complete without that most unlikely of parades, the "Anything That Floats" Regatta, featuring entries from individuals, commercial businesses and nonprofit organizations - the more outrageous the better. There are no fees and no rules, except, of course, that entries must float - at least long enough to pass the judges' stand!

In past events, decorated rowboats, kayaks and inner tubes; horses on rafts; an outhouse or two; pirate ships and dragons; stryo packing material; and everything else in between have wended their aquatic way down the Medina. Rule of thumb, if it floats, it can be in the "Anything That Floats" Regatta." Sponsored by Buddy's Septic & Water Well Service, Inc., the water parade kicks off at 3 pm.

In addition to the river games, the festivities include arts and crafts, an endless array of food and drink, non-stop bands and entertainment and the annual Open Car Show and Swap Meet.

Also in the mix is the RiverFest Barbecue Cook-off, sanctioned by the Central Texas Barbeque Association. Those "in the know" know cook teams sometimes reward those who ask nicely with a taste of their prize-winning beans, chicken, pork ribs and brisket. Winners will receive cash prizes, trophies by renowned artist Esther Benedict and braggin' rights.

Also, kids, don't forget to bring empty breadbaskets for the popular watermelon and hotdogs eatin' contests.

The day's festivities close at 5 pm with the 'sing'-sational finals for the 2013 Bandera Idol. The nail-biting competition features the area's most talented performers and takes place on the RiverFest Music Stage. Semi-finals begin at 10 am.

"Come sit in the shade, enjoy a beer, margarita or lemonade, bring the kids and enjoy," urged an event spokesman. "There's no better way to spend a day on the river than at Bandera RiverFest."

Gates open at 10 am and admission is $10 for adults with children ages 12 years and under admitted free.

Active members of the armed services with proper identification will also be admitted free.

A complete RiverFest event schedule, which is included in this week's edition of the Bandera County Courier, will also be available at businesses throughout the city.

For more information visit, or call the Growth Resource planning team at 830-796-4447.

Pictured: This patriotic entry participated in a previous "Anything that Floats" Regatta, one of the centerpieces of RiverFest, Bandera's picnic on the banks of the Medina River at City Park on Saturday, June 29. There's still time for businesses and individuals to enter this hilarious competition. For information, visit