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RiverFest 2019 makes big splash

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Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2019 12:00 pm

The Medina River through Bandera City Park took on an exuberant party feel on Saturday, June 29, as the Bandera Business Association put on the 22rd annual Bandera RiverFest that may have been a record-setter.

“This was one of most successful RiverFest events so far and may have set some records for numbers of visitors, car show entries, barbecue cooking contestants and vendors,”said RiverFest Event Coordinator Genie Strickland, who has seen all 22 events.

Attendance was believed to have been down at last year’s RiverFest, which is the business association’s largest fundraiser of the year, and early concerns about E. coli bacterial levels in the river this year disappeared after retests of the water showed it was safe.

So hordes of people turned out for the one-day event to sample barbecue made as part of the annual cookoff and other food that was for sale, to shop at an array of vendors, to watch or take part in a variety of activities on the river and to enjoy activities on dry land, like a hot dog eating contest, a car show and the finals in a singing competition called Bandera Idol.

The event has become a tradition for some of those visiting Bandera, including a group of about eight married couples from Alice which has been to RiverFest often to take part in the car show.

They make sure they have a place to stay by booking the same nearby cabins a year in advance.

Bandera County residents Brooks and Anita Myers attended their first RiverFest with their children and a friend. 


“The kids had a great time on the playground equipment and viewing the classic cars on display.  And the food vendors and snow cones were also a hit,” Brooks Myers said.


“We did not last for the (Anything that Floats) regatta but plan to create our own floating raft for next year's event, and the kids are excited about that,” he said. “The music was good, it was a beautiful day and good family fun.  We will definitely be back next year.”

The Singh family from Helotes and the Sharma family from San Antonio were laughing after a fun-filled, watermelon eating contest.


“This was the first time we came to RiverFest, and we are having a blast. We will be back,” said Harvinder Singh, who was among the participants trying to consume the most watermelon slices.

Results from a number of events, like the barbecue cookoff put on by the Lone Star Barbecue Society, were not available by the Bulletin’s deadline.

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