River Town Fest takes over Hersey

Pancake eating: Brave attendees of last year's Hersey River Town Festival try to eat as many pancakes as possible in a three-minute period. This year, the event will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday. The River Town Festival takes place Thursday through Saturday. (Herald Review photo)
Pancake eating: Brave attendees of last year’s Hersey River Town Festival try to eat as many pancakes as possible in a three-minute period. This year, the event will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday. The River Town Festival takes place Thursday through Saturday. (Herald Review photo)

HERSEY — Starting Thursday evening and lasting through Sunday, the village of Hersey will be jam-packed with new and traditional events to not only recognize where the community is heading, but to acknowledge where it has been.

This weekend will host Hersey’s River Town Festival, a celebration that provides family-fun and a number of events for all ages.

“We’re really excited about it,” said The Hersey Group’s Ernie Clark. “This is Hersey’s opportunity to show off. We think we’re one of the best little villages.”

The festival will begin with Hersey’s Got Talent officially starting the celebration at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Tabernacle at Albright Camp. During the event, eight acts will perform in front of a panel of judges and choose three top performances. The act that takes first place will win a $250 prize, a spot in the parade and other gifts.

“This event was added this year for something new and exciting,” said contest organizer April Sunderlin-Cole, who noted she hopes the event will spotlight local talent and bring awareness to the festival.

Apart from great live entertainment, the event will offer a flea market and farmers market at Mosaic Park, Whispering Pines Mobile Petting Zoo, a yard sale at Hersey Congregational Church, games for children hosted by Hersey United Methodist Church and more.

Softball tournaments also return this year, starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday. This year, it will be a modified, double-elimination co-ed tournament with a minimum of four women per team. Games will be played at Hersey Ballpark, with at least six teams competing.

The annual River Town Parade is a big hit for families and begins at noon on Saturday. This year, the parade will feature Dynamite the Clown and Clifford the Big Red Dog among other floats and attractions. Cameras are a mandatory accessory!

Tempting dinner and lunch opportunities also will be available for those wanting a bite. On Saturday, the free second annual River Town Pancake Eating Contest will begin at 9 a.m. Participants must be at least 18 years old, must use a knife and fork and refrain from drinking anything during a three-minute time period while attempting to eat up to 10 pancakes. For attendees uninterested in competitive eating, breakfast will be served for $5 a plate on Main Street between Second and Third streets.

For lunch on Saturday, the popular chicken barbecue hosted by Hersey United Methodist Church will begin at noon and a pig roast will take place following the parade.

“Last year, the chicken sold out,” Clark added. “This year, we’re looking forward to another possible sell-out.”

For attendees who are at least 21 years old, the River Junction Beer Garden will be open for business at 6 p.m. on Friday and at noon on Saturday. Lone Wolf and Onager will perform live music and DJ Tolin will have people dancing in the evenings.

At 1 p.m. on Sunday, join members of Hersey United Methodist Church, Liberty Baptist Church and Hersey Congregational Church at Mosaic Park for Rivertown Sunday in the Park. The gathering will feature praise and worship music for all.

Clark said the festival is not one to miss, as it allows for fun and brings the community together in a unified celebration.

For more information and a complete schedule, visit www.herseyrivertownfestival.com or find the event on Facebook.