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City Leaders, Residents Join In For Centennial Celebration
The Riverbank Community kicked off the first of several events this year in celebration of the 100 years since the city was incorporated, in 1922. Those attending the Centennial Gala Dinner on Saturday, March 5 at the Community Center were encouraged to wear 1920s attire, which many did. The evening included a fundraising raffle, benefiting the Riverbank Historical Museum expansion, a silent auction, and dancing. Ric McGinnis/The News

Saturday evening, March 5, the City of Riverbank officially kicked off its celebration of 100 years since it was incorporated, with a Centennial Gala Dinner, staged at the Community Center.

Organized by a community committee, it was headed up by city Administrative Assistant Gaby Hernandez, and made up of citizens and members of local organizations.

As participants arrived, the decorations were everywhere, and they might have suggested a ‘Black & White’ ball, but a closer look showed there were also hints here and there of gold and silver. The notices suggested that participants might wear 1920s apparel, which many did.

‘Flappers’ seemed to be everywhere one could look.

Some attendees mentioned how freeing it felt to be able to go out to a public event. It was just about two years ago that COVID-19 and its pandemic closed many things down across town, the country, and the world.

In addition to an excellent meal, catered by L’Gusto, a local Italian restaurant recently opened downtown, there were several decorated locations around the room fit perfectly for backgrounds for photos. There was even an official photographer just inside the front door, capturing pictures as people arrived.

Before the meal began, Mayor Richard D. O’Brien welcomed the crowd, introducing a number of staff and other dignitaries in attendance who helped put the event together.

After that, each councilmember took a turn introducing folks, and noting some of the significant events in Riverbank’s rich history.

And that history was the main theme.

At one end of the hall, opposite where the band was set up, stood a large set of lighted numbers, 1-0-0, where people took selfies and group shots throughout the evening.

On either side of that were easels set up to display the new enlargements the city had made from photos from the Riverbank Historical Museum that is next to City Hall North. These enlargements have been on the walls of the Council Chambers for a time, and feature the city’s centennial logo.

Volunteer members from the Historical Society helped staff the bar, and also helped out with the raffle and silent auction after dinner.

Some of the proceeds from the evening were to go to the building fund to construct an annex to Riverbank’s museum site, a former Carnegie Library that is on the register of historic places, itself. The society has been given a number of items that it has no place to display currently, including the first fire engine the Volunteer Fire Department purchased, a converted Ford Model T.

During the dinner, a DJ spun tunes from the ‘20s, but when it came time to dance, the three-piece combo, plus singer, presented more modern music, so attendees could really cut a rug, even though the floor in the Community Center is concrete.

This was just the first of Riverbank’s Centennial Celebration events.

On Thursday, March 17, which is St. Patrick’s Day, Mayor O’Brien will make his State of the City presentation, at the Community Center, 3600 Santa Fe in downtown.

On Saturday, April 30, there’ll be a Founder’s Day Carnival, at the Community Center Park.

On Monday, May 30, a Memorial Day Remembrance is scheduled. On Saturday, June 25, there’ll be a ‘No Dance’ Car Show and Picnic.

To close out the activities, the city has scheduled a City of Riverbank Centennial Celebration, on Saturday, Aug. 20.

Downtown businesswoman Lana Clayton and her husband, Kevin, to the right, dance to the music of California Creedence, a local band that performed for the Saturday night festivities. It was toward the end of the evening celebrating the Riverbank Centennial Dinner at the Community Center. Ric McGinnis/The News
One by one, each member of the Riverbank City Council welcomed the large crowd that turned out to the Centennial Gala Dinner at the beginning of the evening on Saturday, March 5. Here, Councilmember Rachel Hernandez addresses the audience. Ric McGinnis/The News