River Town Days offers family fun

Published 8:24 pm Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The pirate ship was a popular kids' ride at the 2011 River Town Days festival, and it's back again for this year's event.

Come out to the Earle May Boat Basin for River Town Days this Saturday, and you might see kids taking a ride on the pirate ship, soaring through the air on a zip line or climbing up a giant rock wall.

River Town Days, presented by the Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce, kicks off Friday, with dozens of rummage and specialty vendors setting up starting at 10 a.m.

Later on Friday, a free concert at the Performing Arts Stage will begin at 6:30 p.m., with classic cars on display prior to the concert. Opening act Evergreen will play a variety of favorite songs, while the A1A Band—the “Official and Original Jimmy Buffett Tribute Show”—will perform their energetic, colorful blend of tropical rock. A fireworks show will follow the concert.

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Saturday morning, the festival will get an early start when the Great River Rummage Sale and specialty vendor booths open up at 8 a.m. and stay open to 3 p.m. The specialty booths will give area businesses the chance to present their unique, high-quality goods to the public, said Kim Walden, the director of membership and communications for the Chamber of Commerce.

The kids’ rides are better than ever and will get going at 10 a.m., Walden said. Unlimited-ride armbands cost $10 and let children enjoy all of the fun. Armband rides include a zip line, a trip aboard the pirate ship, catching a fish at the trout fishing pond, the Spider Mountain bungie experience, the Wrecking Ball and the Water Roller ride.

The Water Roller ride, which debuted in 2011, lets kids “walk on water” inside a plastic rolling “donut.” The new Wrecking Ball ride seats up to 12 young passengers, who get to experience being spun around and rocking back and forth, higher and higher into the air, inside an open-seated “ship.”

Past favorite rides will be there as well, including the rock climbing wall, mechanical bull ride, bounce houses, a fun 18-feet-long slide, an obstacle course, a petting zoo and pony rides.

Throughout the day, the Performing Arts Center will showcase local talent. Lucretia’s School of Dance will perform at 10 a.m., the Goju Karate School will perform at 11 a.m. and Murkerson’s Dance Academy will perform at noon.

At 1 p.m., the Flint River will be the center of attention as H20 Sports from Dothan, Ala., performs its exciting water-skiing show.

A parade of boats out on the river will happen at 2 p.m.

“All of the boats compete to get the award for the best decorated boat,” Walden said. “Last year, we had a boat decorated in an island theme, another had the Georgia Bulldog colors—it’s a lot of fun to watch.”

Another cool, aquatic highlight will be the U.S. Coast Guard’s 64-foot Aids to Navigation boat. People will be able to go onto the boat to check out what it is used for—maintaining buoys and navigational aids throughout the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin.

The Decatur Grays will also be presenting historic Civil War re-enactments in the Boat Basin. A sand volleyball court has been set up in the Boat Basin and several organized teams will be playing the sport on Saturday.

Home Depot and Stone’s will have stations set up at which kids can do crafting activities.

Some of the food that will be available includes funnel cakes, corn dogs, gyro sandwiches, smoothies, cotton candy, peanuts, burgers and favorites from Zaxby’s, Walden said.

The 2012 River Town Days’ grand sponsors are FOCUS Credit Union, Memorial Hospital and Manor, the Bainbridge Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Decatur County Board of Commissioners.

Memorial Hospital and Manor and the FOCUS Credit Union are new grand sponsors for 2012, Walden said. FOCUS Credit Union, which is headquartered in nearby Chattahoochee, Fla., will be opening its first Georgia branch in Bainbridge soon, she said.

“River Town Days is put on each year to support our community,” Walden said. “We appreciate the generosity of our sponsors and grand sponsors, as well as the hard work and dedication of our volunteers, to make the festival a great success.”

Please check out our gallery of photos from past River Town Days festivals to get a sense for all the fun you and your family can have at this year’s River Town Days, going on May 11 and 12 at the Earle May Boat Basin in Bainbridge.

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