Great Jamestown RiverWalk Festival

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Article Contributed by
Julia Eppehimer

The sidewalk along the Chadakoin will be bustling Sunday, August 23rd with food vendors, crafters, games and educational experiences. Jamestown Now, along with the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation, Cummins Engine and Southern Tier Brewing Company are sponsoring the first annual Great Jamestown RiverWalk Festival from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“The whole point of the riverwalk festival is to get people to discover the riverwalk and walk around,” Mike Dykeman, Jamestown Now founder said. “There’s a lot of people in this area that are not aware of it, and it’s a beautiful, beautiful area.”
“We started talking about this in late fall, early winter,” Dykeman explained. “And as we developed what it was going to be about, in very early March we launched an event page on Facebook and immediately got tons of interest in this, both from vendors and the public.”
In its first year, the event has garnered 40 plus vendors to line up along the riverwalk between the Black Stone building and the train station. Word of mouth from the excited public helped boost the popularity of the upcoming event.
And that’s exactly what the committee for Jamestown Now hopes to do, tie everything together. “We really want our events to be outdoors,” Dykeman said. “Because that brings people downtown and walking around. So if you do an event indoors, then it’s only about that one particular location.”
There will be multiple artists and crafters, including several photographers, jewelry makers. A whole block of children’s activities will be available to keep the young ones entertained as well. Eventz by Scott will have a bounce house, bingo, face painting, and many other games. Food vendors, each with unique fare, will keep visitors full.
But the festival is not simply food and fun, it will also be educational. Infinity, Striders, the Audubon Society, Chautauqua Lake Association, R.T.P.I, Chautauqua County Healthy Network, Grow Jamestown, Boys and Girls Club, and the Fenton History Museum will all be on site to provide information and learning opportunities.
Students from the Infinity Music Program will provide music throughout the riverwalk,” Dykeman explained. “Fenton will also be conducting tours during the day of the riverwalk.”
When the booths close at 5, the lights come down on the stage, where the local band Smackdab will perform a 2-hour concert. A fitting end to a day filled with activities.
This is one of three events put on by the Jamestown Now Association. They also host the ChalkWalk on September 12th, and the Sauce Off on October 3rd, which are both in their fourth years. “Hopefully The Riverwalk Festival is a good one like the other ones and this will continue every year,” Dykeman said.
They hope next year to have more of the riverwalk open and expand along both sides of the Chadakoin. Two footbridges connecting the two sides of the river are set to be constructed before next summer.
More information about the event can be found on the Facebook page: Jamestown Now. To contact the organization, email JamestownNow@gmail.com or call 716-483-5772.