By Torri Singer
RED BANK – Thousands swarmed the kickoff of RiverFest Friday, May 31 to welcome the summertime with food, friends, and music.
The streets were packed at the start of RiverFest 2013 Friday evening. Families traveled from near and far to celebrate with food vendors, free live music, and a beautiful river sunset that decorated the park in Red Bank.
“We’re here from the moment it opens until the moment it closes,” said Diosa Law, a longtime RiverFest attendee. Residents of Navesink, she and husband William have been coming to the three-day event since it began in the ‘80s. Their top food picks include The Keyport Fishery and Danny’s Grill & Wine Bar, two of the 21 vendors that people can enjoy throughout the weekend.
As the sun began to dip into the Navesink the park began to fill up quickly. Blankets and lawn chairs speckled the park as visitors grabbed their favorite foods and settled in for a good view of the free live music by the water. The night kicked off with musicians from The School of Rock music school in Red Bank. Longtime RiverFest attendant Jo Rauso loved the fact that the festival gives new bands exposure and a chance to perform. She brought first-timer Jackie Adams, a new resident of Red Bank, to enjoy the event.
“I love the atmosphere!” said Rauso. “Especially when the weather is nice.” With a forecast free of rain threats this weekend, RiverFest is sure to see a huge crowd all three days.
Ardvark Smile, a first-time RiverFest band, anticipated their inaugural performance at the event. Band member Kyle Ward, who has performed at RiverFest in the past with School of Rock, said his grandparents traveled from Pennsylvania to watch him play and enjoy the festival. His grandparents weren’t the only ones who made a trek to the river for the weekend. The Wells Fargo RiverFest 2013 is the largest food and music festival in New Jersey welcoming visitors from all over the coast to join in the fun.
“It’s a nice local place where all of your friends can come and eat… It’s a break away from normal day-to-day things. You can come here to enjoy the crowd and the music,” said band member Dillon Butler.