PHOTO STORY: Niles Riverfest returns to warm welcome

Published 10:15 am Monday, August 9, 2021

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NILES — An event not seen since 2014 returned to Niles this weekend.

Hosted by the Riverfront Optimist Club of Niles, the Niles Riverfest returned to town Thursday through Sunday.  The free event featured music, carnival rides, crafts and more.

Optimist Club President Josh Sitarz said the event was well attended by community members, despite rainy weather that hung over the early days of the event. He estimated more than 1,000 guests attended the event.

“It’s awesome,” Sitarz said Saturday afternoon. “We’ve got great vendors, musicians and food here today. I’m glad we can get everyone together and have fun. That’s what this is all about, making children and families happy.”

The event was split into two locations with food, craft vendors and music ranging from rock, Americana, folk and oldies occurring at Riverfront Park. Musical acts included The Clear Family, Railroad Dawgs, The Toona’s. Erudite, Romeo’s Ghost, The Erly, Phil Anderson, Saint Joe Jack, Van Dyke Revue, The Santana Project and Elvis Presley impersonator Tim Dudley.

Down the road, Plym Park was host to food, games and carnival rides.

Following this weekend’s success, Sitarz said he is excited to continue to bring back the Riverfest on an annual basis.

“We are excited,” he said. “Earlier in the summer we also hosted the Bluegrass Festival, so I think because we couldn’t host any events last year [due to COVID-19], we had to double up our events for this year, and we are going to stick to that. We want to host two events each year going forward.”