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Riverfest marks 25th year in Nitro this week


“The Voice” contestant Mikele Buck and The Mikele Buck Band will perform at Nitro’s annual Riverfest on Friday, Aug. 9. Courtesy photo

The City of Nitro’s yearly Riverfest will observe its 25th anniversary this week, and residents and visitors are, as ever, warmly welcome to join in the outdoor celebration.

This year’s carnival-themed Riverfest will get underway on Thursday, Aug. 8, and continue each day through Saturday, Aug. 11, at Nitro City Park, 1600 Park Ave. in Nitro. Admission and entertainment are free for those attending.

Befitting the yearly summer celebration, there will be plenty of food and drink (including the beer and wine garden which made its Riverfest debut at last year’s event) for consumption, with a live soundtrack supplied by up-and-coming, local bands; country artists and other music makers, along with an Oldies Night of classic tunes. Craft vendors will have their wares on display for browsing and purchase.

Riverfest Vice President Kim Dunaway gave a rundown last week of some of the highlights of this week’s event.

“For our 25th year, we’ll be kicking off with the Riverfest Idol competition on Thursday, starting at 6 p.m.,” she said. “After the competition, Appalachian Rain will play.”

Friday’s musical entertainment, Dunaway said, will include Jeff Sanders, starting at 6 p.m., followed after his set by the Mikele Buck Band.

At 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, the Nitro-based Barn Holler Band will play.

“We also have a bluegrass band from West Virginia and Kentucky, the Tommy Webb Band, who’ll play on Saturday. These guys are absolutely amazing. The Mello Fellos will start at about 8:30 p.m. Then, there’ll be fireworks, and, after the fireworks, the Mello Fellos will continue to play until at least 11 or 11:30,” Dunaway said.

“We’ll have tons of food and craft vendors, the wine and beer garden, inflatables and carnival rides,” she added.

“There’s something I’m very, very excited about on Sunday,” Dunaway said. “Sunday will be Special Needs Day, which we hope will become an annual thing. From 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, any special needs individual can ride the carnival rides completely free, as well as enjoy free popcorn and free cotton candy. We’ll also have Disney princesses and a petting zoo there.”

Additionally on Sunday, the Riverfest roster of activities will include a Cutest Kids Contest at City Park, Dunaway said, as well as the finalists from Thursday’s Riverfest Idol preliminary/qualifying competition taking the stage to determine a winner, and musical performances by Stephanie Stacy of Nitro and the Pennington Project Band.

For updates or additional information about this year’s activities, visit the Riverfest page on Facebook (@riverfestwv).

Riverfest originated in St. Albans 25 years ago and was relocated to Nitro City Park in 2017.

Metro reporter Clint Thomas can be reached at or by calling 304-348-1232.

Funerals for Saturday, August 24, 2019

Barron, Dennis - 11 a.m., Airborne Church, Martinsburg.
Baylor, Elizabeth - 1 p.m., Snodgrass Funeral Home, South Charleston.
Bonds Jr., Patrick - 1 p.m., King of Glory International Ministries, Charleston.
Burgess, Corey - 5 p.m., Aldersgate United Methodist Church.
Burns, Helen - 11 a.m., Stump Funeral Home & Cremation, Inc., Grantsville.
Caldwell, Gary - 6 p.m., Long & Fisher Funeral Home, Sissonville.
Casto, Carroll - 1 p.m., Raynes Funeral Home, Eleanor.
Casto, Roger - 2 p.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Winfield.
Duty, Fred - 2 p.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.
Fisher, Bernard - 2 p.m., Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley.
Gwinn, Lloyd - Noon, Church of Christ, Craigsville.  
Habjan, Nathan - 1 p.m., Wilson-Smith Funeral Home, Clay. 
Hall, Daniel - Noon, Witcher Baptist Church.
Hinkle, Ethel - Noon, Church of Christ, Craigsville.  
Hoffman, Bruce - 2 p.m., Foglesong - Casto Funeral Home, Mason.  
Kinder, Siegel - 1 p.m., Leonard Johnson Funeral Home, Marmet.
Kyler, Virgil - 11 a.m., Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Reedy.
Palmer, William - 1 p.m., Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home, Charleston. 
Raynes Sr., Steven - 1 p.m., Tyree Funeral Home, Oak Hill.
Truman, James - 2 p.m., Newton Baptist Church, Newton.
Turner, Keith - Noon, Full Gospel Assembly,  Huntington. 
Webb, Antoinette - 11 a.m., SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Oak Hill.
Wilson, Greg - Noon, Roach Funeral Home, Gassaway.
Withrow, James - 1 p.m., Cooke Funeral Home Chapel, Cedar Grove.