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2017 Riverfest Best Ever, Chris Janson extremely entertaining

2017 RiverFestClarksville, TN – Riverfest 2017 is shaping up to to be one of the most successful of recent years, (based on attendance) according to Clarksville Parks and Recreation’s Robert Rayburn.

“We hear from a lot of people that say we are limited by McGregor Park,” Rayburn said. “I think the success of this weekend shows that we can do more. We want this event to keep growing and improving.”

Lots of food, fun and music Saturday, the last day of Clarksville's Riverfest 2017. Chris Janson rocks the house to close Riverfest.
Lots of food, fun and music Saturday, the last day of Clarksville’s Riverfest 2017. Chris Janson rocks the house to close Riverfest.

One of the big changes for 2017 was the introduction of a new system for purchasing from vendors. The old system had people standing in line to buy tickets, which were then exchanged for food or services.

“Riverfest has been so successful. In fact, we have gone cashless this year. A whole new program and we’ve actually found out we’re making more money than we did last year. So we believe there are more people here,” said Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan. “The weather is beautiful.”

“We got a lot of positive feedback on that subject,” Rayburn said. “We had a lot of different things going on this year, from fitness to scuba diving at one end of the park to great activities and demonstrations in the family zone.

“We also were lucky to have the USS LST 325, a decommissioned tank landing ship docked here this weekend. That drew a lot of people to the artists and vendors booths set up on that end of the festival. We had a lot of people, but it didn’t feel crowded.”

Riverfest kicked off Saturday at 8:00am with the annual canoe and kayak race, Rally on the Cumberland. This year, participates raced down the Cumberland River starting at the Montgomery County Conservation Club and ending at the McGregor Park boat ramp.

Rally on the Cumberland winners are:

Rally on the Cumberland Results
Beginner (Singles)
Place Name Time
1st Patrick Garvey 1:07.21
Intermediate (Singles)
1st Lucas Chambers 1:08.06
Intermediate (Doubles)
1st Sara Riesel / Terry Riesel 1:04.00


At 1:00pm, festival favorite Riverfest Regatta, a cardboard boat race, took place at the McGregor Park Boat Launch Area. Boats are constructed from cardboard and recycled materials and raced down the Cumberland River in a 100-yard dash.

“This is so much fun. It is an opportunity for the community to come out and watch cardboard boats race down the Cumberland River. I am so excited to participate on behalf of City Hall. We have a wonderful boat. We have done it every year. We are looking forward to a winning sprint down the Cumberland River,” stated Mayor McMillan.

Riverfest Regatta winners are:

Riverfest Regatta Awards
Ship Shape Award USS Monitor
Cardboard Queen Shark Bait
Team Unity Award Phantoms
Team Attire Award Last Train to Clarksville
Titanic Award Phantoms


Of course, the big draw for many is the music. There were four bands on the Bud Light Stage Friday night, with Kings Avail closing the show. On Saturday, more than two dozen acts took turns on three stages, culminating with Chris Janson, this year’s headliner.

“We’ve been working with the folks from Urbanfest, which has allowed us to expand our music lineup,” Rayburn said. “This year we had some R & B, Bluegrass, and a little more Rock & Roll. And, being so close to Nashville helps us get top notch Country performers like Chris Janson.

“He played for us Saturday night, and totally packed the lawn in front of our main stage. His next show is at Madison Square Garden where he opens for Sam Hunt. That’s pretty amazing.”

Riverfest Gallery – 1

Riverfest Gallery – 2

Riverfest Gallery – 3


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