By Frank Lewis
Arguably the most popular and most attended event every year in Portsmouth is River Days, featuring a full slate of entertainment, events, rides, food and fun for the entire family. This year’s celebration runs from Sept. 3 through Sept. 7.
Kicking off the five-day event will be the opening ceremonies on the Riverfront stage, Thursday, Sept. 3 at 5 p.m. followed closely by the introduction of the 2015 Miss River Days Pageant contestants at 5:30. At 6 p.m., award winning singer/songwriter Steve Free takes to the stage. At 7:30 p.m. it’s Josh Stewart followed by the ever-popular Phil Dirt and the Dozers at 9 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 4 gets the weekend going with the festival, midway and marketplace craft area on Front Street and the Court Street Landing all opening at 5 p.m. At 6 p.m. great fun for the kids – the Buckeye Sanctioned Kiddie Tractor Pull on Front Street. Southern Edge takes the stage to perform at 7:30 p.m. followed by Keith Anderson at 9 p.m.
Anderson was signed as a recording artist to Arista Nashville in 2004. His debut single “Pickin’ Wildflowers” was released that year, as the lead-off track from his debut album Three Chord Country and American Rock & Roll. Counting “Pickin’ Wildflowers”, the album produced a total of four hit singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, and was certified gold by the RIAA.
In addition to his own material, Anderson co-wrote Big & Rich’s single “Lost in This Moment”, a Number One hit on the country music charts in mid-2007. Anderson switched to the Columbia label in 2007, and his second album, C’mon!, was released on August 5, 2008. The second single from the album, “I Still Miss You”, became his first Top 5 country hit.
Things do not slow down on Saturday, Sept. 5. The festival, midway and marketplace craft area opens at 10 a.m., followed at 11 a.m. by the Ricer Equipment River Days Grand Parade featuring Ohio State University drum major David Pettit as the grand marshall.
At 5:30 p.m. it’s the Miss River Days Queen’s Pageant at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts on the campus of Shawnee State University. At 7:30 p.m. Terry Hall and the Dave Morrison Band kick off the entertainment on the Riverfront stage and one of the best known acts in country music – Sawyer Brown brings down the curtain at 9 p.m.
Sawyer Brown’s string of hits include “Leona,” “Step That Step,” “Used to Blue,” “Out Goin’ Cattin’,” “The Race Is On,” and “Some Girls Do.” Along the way, Sawyer Brown garnered a lot of awards including being named the TNN/Music City News Vocal Band of the year from 1993 through 1998 and the ACM Vocal Group of the Year in 1997.
Sunday, Sept. 6, the festival, midway and marketplace craft area opens at 10 a.m. with childrens’ activities in York Park fearuing a COSI Buckeye Mobile Tour from noon until 4 p.m.
The entertainment begins on the Riverfront stage at 6 p.m. as the band Flint kicks off the music followed by Teazer at 7:30 p.m. and local favorites – Doc Roc and the Remedies at 9 p.m. Finishing off the night’s festivities will be the River Days Fireworks Extravaganza at 10 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 7, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. there will be an Antique and Collector car Show in the Boneyfiddle district.
In addition, there will be a petting zoo and animal exhibit every day in York park and pony rides will be available from open until close each day. Midway rides by Michaels Amusements will be on Front Street this year and those wanting to attend the week’s events can enjoy all of the concerts free.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.