Conway Riverfest: A Fourth of July Celebration

The Riverfest Artisan Market

The Riverfest Artisan Market

Conway, South Carolina has been celebrating Independence Day with the Conway Riverfest for over 30 years, and it is one of the city’s biggest festivals.  They ring in the red, white, and blue the weekend before the fourth day of July with a day-long celebration that includes a golf cart parade, an artisan market, music, kids’ activities, food, a Beer Garden, and fireworks! The event runs from 11am to 11pm, with fireworks at 9:30pm.

2015

The forecast called for rain, again, but my eight-year-old daughter and I decided to chance it and arrived around 10:30am to grab a cold drink at the new coffee shop on Main St., Rivertown Roasters on Main, to cool off from the 90+% humidity.  We stopped by the Conway Farmer’s Market off of Laurel St. to meet up with Kelly and then found our way to Marina Dr. for the golf cart parade.  A police golf cart came our way and about six other golf carts decorated in red, white, and blue came by.  It ended with the Shriners doing tricks in their little cars.  And the rain only sprinkled for a bit – just enough to cool us off.

We visited the Artisan Market, set up along the train tracks, where they sold food, bows, jewelry, clothing, re-purposed wood art and furniture, and much more. A stage was set up and we enjoyed an a cappella group.  There was also a Kids Zone closer to the marina with goats, a llama, two camels, ponies, Kona Ice, inflatables, a zip line, and more food vendors.  We walked along the Riverfront Park where there was a cool breeze and watched a few vendors set up for the 3:00pm portion where they charge to get in.

We were chased out of the area by the 100 degree heat index and missed the boat race (build your own boat and see if it floats) and the fireworks this year – but check out more about the festival in last year’s account below.

Cost: Festival attendance, free. $10 for inflatables; $3 face painting; $5+ for pony and camel rides. $5 admission to the Riverfront Park after 3:00pm; children 12 and under, free.

2014

This year the forecast called for 90% chance of rain the day of the festival so Kelly, my seven-year-old daughter, Hannah, and I made our way to the Riverfest around 12-noon, crossing our fingers the rain would hold off or pass through quickly like a typical South Carolina afternoon thunderstorm.  We found the Artisan Market next to the Riverfront Tennis Courts on Elm Street under a very gloomy sky.  There were vendors selling food, jewelry, hair-bows, face-painting and businesses representing everything from chiropractors to Coastal Carolina University football.  There was a stage set up and The Morris Brothers Bluegrass Band was performing.  One of my favorite booths was represented by the Canine Angels Service Dogs which rescues dogs from shelters and trains them to serve our nation’s heroes who have suffered physical and mental injuries, for free.  The trained dogs showed off their skills by retrieving dollar bills from festival goers donating to the cause by gently taking the dollars in their teeth and dropping them in the donation buckets!

Fireworks at the Riverwalk

Fireworks over the Conway bridge, reflecting off the river, viewed from the Riverwalk

We felt droplets of rain and decided to walk to 3rd Avenue (about two blocks) and eat lunch at Crafty Rooster – one of our favorite restaurants in the area – and sit out the storm until 3pm when the Riverfront gates opened for the Beer Garden, more activities and more music.  We arrived at Crafty just in time because the heavens opened up and it poured rain…for hours…and the weather radar showed rain in the area all afternoon.  Unfortunately we had to make the decision to pack up and head home.

The skies did clear late in the evening and around 8:30pm we drove to the Riverwalk, found ample parking at the old Sidewheeler building, and walked along the Riverwalk until we found what we determined to be the perfect spot to watch the fireworks show.  We saw a steady stream of boats cruising their way up the river to watch the fireworks show by boat. The rain held off and  the show lasted about 20 minutes.

The weather was not our friend for the festival this year but I highly recommend starting your Fourth of July celebrations with this festival in the future.  I have posted a few pictures from my adventure at Riverfest in 2012 below.

Cost: Festival attendance, free. $10 for inflatables; $3 face painting; $5+ for pony and camel rides. $5 admission to the Riverfront Park after 3:00pm; children 12 and under, free.

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Pictures from the Conway Riverfest in 2012

Hannah and her friend, Molly, riding a camel at Riverfest

Hannah and her friend, Molly, riding a camel at Riverfest, 2012

Hannah finds a 'Fourth of July' bow at one of the Artisan Market vendor booths

Hannah finds a ‘Fourth of July’ bow at one of the Artisan Market vendor booths, 2012

Pony rides at Riverfest

Pony rides at Riverfest, 2012

Hannah blows bubbles at one of the vendor tents offering kids' activities

Hannah blows bubbles at one of the vendor tents offering kids’ activities, 2012

 

 

 

 

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