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Rivertown Days festivities to move to Levee Park

Stock photo from Rivertown Days Parade in 2017.1 / 2
The proposed layout of Rivertown Days 2018 places the majority of events at Levee Park and the Rotary Pavilion. Map courtesy of Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce2 / 2

A new part of the riverwalk will have a front row seat to Rivertown Days festivities this year with other changes in store to make the 40th anniversary of the event special. The City Council approved the change request at their March 19 meeting; however, Mayor Paul Hicks said the agreement is subject to change as they continue to work out logistics between now and the event.

Rivertown Days festivities like the music, food trucks, beer tent and family activities will be moved from Jaycee Park to Levee Park and the Rotary Pavilion. The new layout was requested in order to increase walkability, showcase the entire riverfront, to drive more traffic to downtown businesses and provide a unique experience for guests.

"We think this new layout is the best way to accomplish (those goals)," said Kristy Barse, Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce.

Barse said the Rivertown Days Committee wanted to incorporate Levee Park not only because it allows for walkability but also because it is a huge asset to the community. The carnival will be moved to the city-owned property immediately north of ArtSpace. Festival rides and games will be placed in open land adjacent to Levee Park on both sides of Tyler Street.

While many events are being moved from Jaycee Park, Barse said the park will still be part of activities. The arts and craft fair will be located there instead. Council member Lisa Leifeld said the shade provided at Jaycee Park for the arts fair will likely be welcomed.

Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau board chair Aaron Rother said Rivertown Days has been a showcase of Hastings for 40 years.

"Our downtown is a wonderful entrance-given our natural and historic assets, plus our vibrant Riverwalk and pavilion areas," Rother said. "This year's events will allow residents and visitors to experience and celebrate it all with us."

A couple of residents living east of the railroad tracks expressed some concern at the council meeting about parking during the event. They asked that parking-related issues and traffic flow would be considered more. Barse said some of their concerns had already been discussed within the committee and with city staff, but it will continue to be looked at.

"This is something where we're going to continue to work with city staff on to make sure that we have everything ironed out before the July date," Barse said at the meeting.

Rivertown Days will be held July 20-22. Additional information about entertainment and the music stage line up will be released in late Spring.

Michelle Wirth

Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.

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