2016-09-08 / Community News

River Jam Festival begins Friday with events throughout weekend

River Jam Festival returns to Biddeford and Saco Saturday, Sept. 17 with free events all day in Mechanics Park and on the Saco River, followed by a free evening of Maine music acts on Saco Island. The event is coordinated by Heart of Biddeford and Saco Main Street with the goals of building community locally and attracting visitors to the Biddeford-Saco area.

In the festival’s third year, daytime elements have been added that include kayak and paddle board races, Timber Tina’s Great Maine Lumberjack Show, a circus performance, a Kid’s Zone and Maker’s Market.

Delilah Poupore, executive director of Heart of Biddeford, said the first River Jam Festival was held in 2014, but “ever since we partnered with Saco Main Street and have support from the two cities, the event has grown beyond what we could have imagined. The evening’s headliners – Rustic Overtones and Mallett Brothers, plus Sarah Blacker and Ghost of Paul Revere, are probably the best lineup of free music you’ll find in Maine this summer.”

The evening will also feature food trucks and Run of the Mill’s brew tent.

“There’s so much going on that day, I’m sure it’s hard to believe it’s all going to be free,” said Saco Main Street Executive Director, Rob Biggs. “We have worked hard to gain the support of local government and businesses who understand that events like this are essential for building community while building awareness of the amazing potential in these two cities.”

The weekend kicks off on Friday night with the Biddeford and Saco Mayors’ Ball, which will be held in the Pepperell Center in Biddeford. Benefitting local food pantries, the mayors are hosting the dance to continue to unite the two cities.

“This mayoral ball is a humble effort to encourage our combined community to have fun together while helping an important cause,” said Biddeford Mayor Alan Casavant.

The evening starts at 8 p.m. with music by Treble-G, followed by dance music by “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” at 8:30 p.m. and food and drink from local restaurants, breweries and distilleries.

“We were awed by the level of professionalism and spectacle of the three Biddeford Balls, hosted by angelrox founders Roxi Suger and Julian Schlaver. We imagine the mayors’ event to be on a more local scale,” Casavant said, “giving a nod to historical dances when our mills would hold balls at the changing of the seasons, as well as a continuation of the Biddeford tradition of a Mayor’s Ball that was often held in years past.”

Saturday morning begins with Heart of Biddeford’s River Jam 5K, starting at 8 a.m. in Clifford Park with the finish line at Mechanics Park. The annual road race was moved to Sept. 17 to add even more outdoor, healthy events to the weekend, which falls on the Great Maine Outdoor Weekend. Registration ($20 in advance) is available at RunSignUp.com, with T-shirts for all participants and prizes in all age- categories.

Along with the cities of Biddeford and Saco, this year’s festival sponsors are Biddeford Savings, Deering Lumber, Saco and Biddeford Savings and Unitil. Engine is one of the event partners, coordinating the Maker’s Market. Gold and Silver level sponsors and more partners can be found at RiverJamFest.com.

Free T-shirts are provided for volunteers who take a shift on Sept. 17. Sign-ups can be found on the “About” page at RiverJamFest.com For more information on the River Jam Festival, go to RiverJamFest.com or find it on Facebook. The Biddeford-Saco Mayors’ Ball is also on Facebook with tickets available online at Eventbrite.com or at the City Clerks offices in Biddeford and Saco.

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