By Jacob Mathias
Riverfront Rendezvous, Stevens Point’s annual three-day-long 4th of July festival at Pfiffner Park returns this year for the 31st time with the music and fun that make it an annual local favorite.
“It’s got a great setting. It’s along the river,” said Stevens Point Parks Director Tom Schrader. “We try to have a wide variety of entertainment and types of music.”
Riverfront begins Friday, July 3 at 6:30 PM and concludes Sunday, July 5 at 11 PM.
Live music is a central theme of Riverfront and three music stages provide a wide variety of musical styles. Main stage acts include rock band Here Come the Mummies, the first main stage act to return to Riverfront, Celtic rock group Gaelic Storm and local bluegrass favorites Horseshoes and Hand Grenades.
“We generally don’t bring main stage groups back but we had so many requests to bring the Mummies back,” said Schrader. “When they were here two years ago…a lot of people didn’t know who they were.”
The annual Carp Classic Fishing Contest will be held on July 4 from 10 AM to 4 PM. Awards will be given to those with the largest fish and highest total weight in both boat and shore fishing divisions. An entry fee of $2 will be charged upon registration.
Schroeder says there are usually about 120 entries in the fishing contest and winners receive a 6-inch trophy.
The 4th of July Street parade, hosted by the Stevens Point Association of Downtown Businesses, is held at noon on Saturday and usually has about 40 entries. Parade routes and registration details can be found here.
Bingo games hosted by the St. Joseph Catholic Church are held from 1 PM to 4 PM on Saturday and Sunday. Bingo cards are 25 cents each and cash prizes are awarded to winner.
The Point Idol singing competition is Saturday from 1 PM to 4 PM and the winner will receive $100 and be given the opportunity to sing on the festival main stage.
Sunday, July 5 is Kids’ Day at Riverfront. Games and activities will be provided as well as a performance by George of the Juggle, a children’s magician and juggler. Saturday will feature entertainment by children’s musician Old Macdonald had a Banjo and sound wave science experiments by Mad Science out of Milwaukee.
Sunday night’s Lighted Boat Parade is open to the public and boaters simply need to decorate their boat and line up by the Bukolt Park boat launch at 9:15 to join the parade.
“One year a guy had a canoe with a Statue of Liberty in it,” said Schrader. “That was kind of unique.”
The final event on Sunday is the fireworks show, presented by 5-Star Fireworks out of Oconomowoc, Wis. Fireworks begin at dusk and last about 20 minutes.
The fireworks attract many people and it’s a good idea to get your viewing spot early.
“The best thing is to come down, get a nice spot, get something to eat, get something to drink and just relax,” said Schrader.
Food tents will be located near the main stage with food provided by Michele’s Restaurant, Samoeun’s Happy Wok, People’s Meat Market, Stevens Point Youth Baseball, Barber Shoppers, Boy Scouts and Stevens Point Youth Soccer. G&G Concessions and Rainbow Sno-cones will also be on site.
While carry-ins are allowed, Schrader said he encourages visitors to purchase their food and drinks on the festival grounds.
“That’s half the money we generate,” said Schrader. “The more people carry-in the less we make and you won’t see Gaelic Storm, the Mummies because we wont’ be able to afford them.”
For a full schedule and more information on Riverfront Rendezvous, click here.