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RiverFest celebrates Bandera's jewel - the Medina River

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Get ready, get set - splash!

The 15th annual RiverFest celebration, hosted by the Bandera Business Association, has morphed into the ultimate Picnic on the River. The fun takes place Saturday, June 30, along the banks of the beautiful Medina River in City Park. Members of the BBA invite everyone to get wet and wild with them this weekend.

This event has become the ultimate river party throughout the Texas Hill County. According to those who return again and again for the fun, RiverFest gets bigger and better every year!

Of course visitors are encouraged to wear river shoes and swimsuits and jump into some great fun. River-centric events include a children's beach, open at 10 am; kayak races heats starting at 11 am; and river rodeo, games and water relay, beginning at 1 pm. The competitions are free, easy and do not require special equipment.

The day wouldn't be complete without that most unlikely of river 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.

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 array of food and drink; non-stop bands and entertainment, featuring Chrome Pony, Three Peace Band and $50 Dynasty; and the annual Open Car Show and Swap Meet with winners announced at 4:50 pm.

Also in the mix is the Barbecue Cook-off, sanctioned by the Central Texas Barbeque Association and sponsored by Braman Winery. Ask nicely, and maybe the cook teams will offer a taste of their prize-winning beans, chicken, pork ribs and brisket. Cash prizes and Esther Benedict trophies will be handed out at 5 pm.

Also, don't forget to bring empty breadbaskets for the popular eatin' contests. It's watermelon at 11:45 am in the food court area and hotdogs at 2:30 pm - yum!

At 5 pm, the day's activities close with the finals for the 2012 Bandera Idol, sponsored by Bandera Tavern.

The nail-biting action takes place on the Main Stage. Don't miss this competition featuring the area's most talented performers.

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

Gates open at 10 am and admission is $10 for adults with children ages 12 and under admitted free. Active members of the armed services with proper identification will also be admitted free.

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

For more information visit, www.BanderaRiverFest.com or call 830-796-4447.

Pictured: At a previous RiverFest, Harvey Raab, Lee Haile and Sierra Haile had fun in the sun - complete with "seahorses" - during the River Rodeo. The 2012 edition takes place Saturday, June 30, at Bandera City Park with gates opening at 10 am.

GET YOUR COPY of this weeks edition of the COURIER for the Pull-Out section with complete calendar of events!