2017-08-24 / Neighbors

River Jam will feature two days

The Biddeford + Saco River Jam Festival will be held throughout both cities Sept. 15 and 16.

“There’s so much interest from the two communities to be part of the festival that we have added Friday night to the festival as well as more events on Saturday,” said event co-host Delilah Poupore of Heart of Biddeford. “We’re also excited that due to incredible support from the cities of Biddeford and Saco, many community partners and generous sponsors, most of the weekend’s events are free.”

Friday night will premiere the Battle of the Bands from 6 to 10 p.m. behind Run of the Mill on Saco Island. Six bands that have at least half of their members under the age of 25 will have a chance to play on the main stage. Thanks to support from presenting sponsors Yesah Digital and Bottom of the River Sound, as well as the Maine Community Foundation, winners will receive a live in-studio video and audio recording and $500. Food and lemonade vendors will be on-hand, and the youth friendly event will be alcohol free. Band applications are available on the River Jam website. The Battle of the Bands is free to participate in and attend.

On Friday night, River Jam will host Fringe Fest on Main Street and Shevenell Park in Biddeford from 4 to 10 p.m. The event kicks off with the launch of the Maine Center for Creativity’s Art All Around installation. From there, community arts organization Engine has helped compile fringe events that include the local breweries, street fare served by downtown restaurants, participatory art projects, live printmaking, outdoor games and music by soul revival group, Youngerbloods from 7 to 10 p.m. Also from 5 to 9 p.m., the community is invited inside the Pepperell Mill Campus to view, “Influx: A Multimedia Installation Event” with work inspired by the past, present and future of the mill as well as the natural elements of the nearby river and ocean. Artists will be present at the opening event and a map will be available to guide patrons to explore installations. All events are free, and food and drink tickets will be available for sale on site.

Saturday begins with the annual River Jam 5K Road Race at 8 a.m., with registrations online at RunSignUp.com. Registrants by Aug. 30 will receive a free River Jam tech T-shirt. Top prizes include tickets to City Theater and gift certificates from Tulu Salon and Fleet Feet, plus prizes in each age category. Advance registration is $20, day-of registration is $25.

New this year is the “Dash to the Sea” kayak and canoe race on the Saco River at 10 a.m. All registration materials are available on the Biddeford Recreation Department website, and registrants prior to Aug. 30 receive a free River Jam T-shirt. Registration is $15.

River Jam co-host and director of Saco Main Street, Robert Biggs is enthusiastic about the added events on the river.

From noon to 4 p.m. free events kick off in Mechanics Park in Biddeford with performances by Sellam Circus, a 95-foot inflatable obstacle course, kids’ games, a curated Makers Market, barbecue lunch for sale, community booths, and free boat rides on the Saco River (leaving from Rumery’s Boat Yard, just down the block).

By 4 p.m. gates open for the main stage on Saco Island (behind Run of the Mill) where an expanded beer tent and five food trucks will be present. New Hampshire based Epic Season will start the night at 5 p.m., followed by three-time River Jam performer Amy Allen at 6:30 p.m. Portland peformer Spencer Albee goes on at 8 p.m. followed by The Mallett Brothers at 9:30 p.m. There is no gate fee to enter.

This year’s presenting sponsors are Biddeford Savings, Pepperell Mill Campus, Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution and Unitil. Gold sponsors are University of New England, Saco Mill No. 4, suger, Town & Country Federal Credit Union and Keep it Local. Silver Sponsors are Bette’s Bridal Stylings, Bottom of the River Sound, Joseph McKenney Photography, Think Tank Biddeford, Tulu Salon and Yesah Digital. River Jam is hosted by Heart of Biddeford and Saco Main Street, with partnerships by Engine, the Biddeford, Saco Chamber, and the cities of Biddeford and Saco.

All details are available on www.RiverJamFest.com and on Facebook/ RiverJamFestival.

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