Organizers prepare for Niles Riverfest
NILES, Mi. -- The city of Niles is getting ready for Riverfest.
A community staple since the 1980s, the Niles Riverfest was hosted every year in Riverfront Park up until 2014, only for it to be hosted again in 2021.
Now the event's organizers are thrilled to be hosting it once more, and have prepared for a bigger and better year.
“We have four days of carnival rides, food vendors, craft vendors, live music on the amphitheater—there’s a lot going on this weekend!” said Josh Sitarz, President of the Riverfront Optimist Club of Niles. The club was responsible for bringing Riverfest back last year, but the event wasn't as big as they hoped it could have been.
“Just with everything that kind of happened, we weren’t able to fully make Riverfest everything that we wanted, so this was the year we had enough time, enough planning, and so everything’s back the way we want it," Sitarz said.
This year's Riverfest promises more than your average carnival fare:
“Friday and Saturday, we’re going to have Dowagiac Canoe doing kayak and canoe rentals on the St. Joe River. We’re also going to have a Dragon Paddle Boat ride on the river. Saturday from 2:00pm to 4:00pm, Remax is bringing a static hot-air balloon," said Sitarz, who's expecting a big turnout this year-- nearly ten-thousand people-- after he saw people missing the event in the years it wasn't around.
“One of the biggest things that people missed about this park in general with festivals was the carnival being back here—and people are stoked that it’s back here. Just come on down, see what we have to offer—see what Niles has to offer," he said.
The Niles Riverfest is free for anyone to attend, running from Thursday to Sunday.