News: Community gathers for 11th Annual Riverwalk Festival
Story by Lance Cpl. Justin Rodriguez
JACKSONVILLE, N.C. - Windy days and falling leaves indicate the fall season is approaching but a rainy day didn’t stop Jacksonville, N.C., residents from enjoying one more day of summer.
Windy days and falling leaves indicate the fall season is approaching but a rainy day didn’t stop Jacksonville, N.C., residents from enjoying one more day of summer.
Families attended the 11th annual Riverwalk Festival Friday and Saturday and enjoyed face painting, play houses, activities, food stands, vendor booths, karaoke contests, video games, boat rides and more.
“We’re dedicated to bringing the community together,” said Rick Allen, events director of Bettering Our Local Downtown, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the revitalization of the commercial and residential districts in downtown Jacksonville. “I enjoy walking through these events seeing families having fun; they enjoy everything we have to offer,” said Allen.
Citizens, service members and their families enjoyed the activities offered, along with the sights of downtown Jacksonville.
Patrons were also offered the opportunity to go kayaking, participate in yoga classes, river cruises, pony rides, paddle boarding. The 2nd Marine Division Band made an appearance and entertained the crowds with their performance.
Children were free to enjoy the play house, and parents were invited to dance and sing during performances and karaoke events. Children roamed the festival with painted faces, cotton candy and smiles.
“I’ve been coming here for years,” said Vickie Goertz. “There’s nothing like seeing the community come together and smile. I don’t think there’s anyone here who’s not having an amazing time.”
Recognizing the strong military attendance in Jacksonville, the B.O.L.D. committee used a portion of donations collected at the events to give to Operation Finally Home, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing mortgage-free homes to disabled veterans. “We support and appreciate everything the military does for the community, “ said Allen.
We recognize their efforts, and we try to do them a service by giving back to those who cannot fight the fight anymore.”
The Riverwalk Festival brought families together and gave them an outlet to enjoy their surroundings and time together.