Riverfest 2015: What to do, where to park

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Classic and antique car shows are among the special events happening during the 37th annual Riverfest this weekend. Photos courtesy Riverfest.
Classic and antique car shows are among the special events happening during the 37th annual Riverfest this weekend. Photos courtesy Riverfest.

A local annual tradition returns to downtown Wilmington this weekend.

Riverfest takes over the waterfront tonight (Friday) through Sunday, offering up family fun, food and fireworks, along with lots of arts and entertainment to celebrate the Port City.

In addition to the all-day street fair–featuring a host of local and regional craft vendors–there are a number of special events throughout the three days of festivities.

Typically scheduled for the first weekend in October, this year’s event was postponed due to heavy rains from Hurricane Joaquin.

The 37th annual Riverfest kicks off at 6 tonight at Riverfront Park on Water Street with Snack Cracker taking the stage at 6 p.m., followed by Machine Gun. The free music continues from noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

A dazzling fireworks display will light the sky beginning around 9 p.m. Saturday.
A dazzling fireworks display will light the sky beginning around 9 p.m. Saturday.

The Cut goes on at noon Saturday, with Stereotype at 2:30 p.m., Band on Fire at 5 and the Blake Kearney Band at 8. On Sunday, the Tony Drake Trio performs at noon, followed by Jack Jack 180 at 2:30 and the Bibis Ellison Band at 4:30.

For the outdoor enthusiasts, the fifth annual stand-up paddle board race gets underway at the docks near The George on Water Street at 10 a.m. Saturday, running alongside the Cape Fear Rowing Club’s Riverfest Rowing Regatta, which starts at 11 at Cape Fear Community College’s marine boat building workshop.

A free Kids Zone will keep the little ones busy and entertained between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday, and again from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Classic car lovers will have a chance to see an array of vehicles at a free all-day show sponsored by Sun Coast Cruisers. The show runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. An antique car show is set for 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.

And, as always, there will be fireworks Saturday night around 9 p.m.

A full list of Riverfest happenings can be found online.

Parking

On-street parking will be free starting at 5 p.m. Friday and all day Saturday for Riverfest activities. Enforcement for metered and time-limited spaces will be suspended from Ann to Red Cross streets and from Water to Fourth streets. On-street parking is always free on Sundays.

The Second Street, Market Street and county decks will charge a $7 event fee upon entry starting at 9 p.m. tonight and all day Saturday and Sunday. Visa, MasterCard, Discover and Diner’s Club are accepted.

The upper level and a portion of the lower level of the Water Street parking facility will be completely closed to vehicles, as well as pedestrians, for the entire weekend.

The city’s two surface parking lots located at Second and Market streets and South Second Street and Church Alley will operate as normal. Visitors pay at the pay station located on the lot.

Several privately owned and operated parking lots and decks are operated within the city, and many of these lots are not free to the general public. The city has taken measures to ensure proper signage is in place, so check before you park.