Annual event gets under way with crowning of royalty
By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- This year's Mr. and Miss Riverfest certainly seemed to possess stage presence and personality.
But, so did the other contestants who shot for the titles at Riverfront Park's Amphitheater Thursday evening.
Leading up to the event, the contestants went through five-minute interviews with the four Mr. and Miss Riverfront judges on Tuesday evening.
He immediately set the tone upon his arrival on stage.
What remained after Lewis entered the stage was for the contestants to present themselves and answer a question in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
Cheered on by the 200 plus crowd, the seven contestants -- two men and five women -- seemed to hold their breath while awaiting the judges' decision.
It didn't take the judges too long, however, to decide Kevin Blair and Heather Schultz were worthy winners of this year's contest.
An employee at the Greater Niles Community Federal Credit Union, Schultz has been an active member of the Miss Niles/Brandywine Committee for the past seven years and on the Riverfest float committee for one year.
She has two children, four-year-old Dylan and nine month old Clayton.
When asked by Lewis what she is looking forward to as Miss Riverfest, she said: "Everything, I'm just so excited."
Blair, who composes gospel music, rose to the occasion in his white tuxedo and black top hat.
He thanked his wife Heidi and his two sons, Lacey and Nathan for supporting him.
And, he is looking forward to taking on the weekend-long role as Mr. Riverfest.
The two, in addition to fronting several events and being Riverfest icons for a few days, received $1,000 worth of prizes.
Tom Majerek, in charge of entertainment at Riverfest, was excited to see so many people turn up to the fourth annual event.
Majerek said organizers made changes to gather the crowd more in front of the Amphitheater stage this year.
That obviously seemed to work.
He said Blair and Schultz' main duties during Riverfest will be to float on the leading float in the raft race and handing out prizes to winners of the many events and competitions that go on throughout the festival.
Mr and Mrs Riverfest runners-up were Misty Gano and Larry Rach.