The fair winds here on Saturday, April 30 helped keep the sunny day comfortable, likely contributing to a strong turnout for a second segment of the Centennial Celebration here this year.
Riverbank’s Founders Day Carnival was held on the park grounds and in the street in front of the Community Center, on Santa Fe Street in downtown. The free event ran from noon to 5 p.m. with a number of free booths and activities for the family, and including vendors and representatives from various community organizations.
There were a number of carnival-style activity booths, with a row of six of them, all largely busy through the afternoon, many featuring throwing contests, such as darts and various bean-bag games.
Also on hand was a miniature train pulling small passenger cars for youngsters to ride up and down the street on, and an area set aside for heavy duty three-wheeled bikes to be ridden.
There was also a DJ on the platform next to the east side of the center.
City of Riverbank Confidential Assistant and Centennial Committee member Gaby Hernandez helped organize the event along with other committee members, city staff and volunteers.
“These Centennial Celebration Events are for our community to enjoy and commemorate this grandiose, once in a lifetime occurrence in our beautiful City’s history,” stated Hernandez. “We hope our community enjoyed themselves and will join us for our upcoming events.”
This event was held in celebration of the City of Riverbank’s 100 years.
“The Founder’s Day Carnival had an amazing turnout,” added Hernandez. “More than what I expected, pleasantly surprised. There was just the right amount of carnival games, bounce houses, water games, prizes, some food vendors sold out, the Trackless Train was a hit, nonstop rides for kids and families. The balloon artist was also a hit; she probably had the longest line the whole time.”
Hernandez remarked that several community members that attended the carnival expressed to her that the carnival was great and they could not believe it was free for everyone and were very thankful for that.
“We must have handed out more than 700 bracelets, and a few other hundred that did not get bracelets but just enjoyed the food, music, informational booths, and watching all the kids play,” Hernandez said.
The kids that participated in the carnival games received prizes like swirl lollipops, vinyl stickers, Croc Jibitz, Emoji Clips, pop its, slinkys, tubbys, and fidget spinner light up bracelets to name a few.
Hernandez said, “A huge thank you to Gerrick Figueroa, Leticia Ibanez, and Bertha Reyes (Centennial Committee Members) and all the volunteers. This event took a great deal of advance planning, setting up and cleaning up and it could not have been possible without any of them.”
All the carnival games were manned by volunteers including Enochs students, City Staff and family, City Manager Marisela Garcia, Mayor Richard D. O’Brien and Councilmember Luis Uribe.
“The highlight for me was how incredible our city staff and volunteers are to run such a great event,” mentioned Uribe. “Without them, this event would not be possible and that to me is a part of loving Riverbank.”
Uribe, his wife Elizabeth and their daughter Vyvyana attended the carnival and participated in the activities. He shared that his wife partially dunked water on him at one of the games as a reprisal from him teasing her earlier. Uribe was in charge of the High Strike for adults and kids that took a mallet to ring a bell that graded each swing.
“I gave three swings to every resident playing the games and rewarded them with an X on their wristband to collect free prizes, whether or not they hit the bell,” explained Uribe. “Everyone was really enjoying themselves and the turnout was better than expected. This event was so successful, that the Mayor and I discussed making this an annual event for Love Riverbank.”
The next Centennial event is the ‘No Dance’ Picnic and Car Show that will be held on Saturday, June 25 at the Community Center Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
News reporter Virginia Still contributed to this story.