Riverfest: Then and Now
For the last 30 years, Casper has been gathering for a special, annual river festival, known today as Riverfest. Since 1992, this event has featured food and family fun and in 2000, the famous rubber ducks were added. Originally named the Parkway River Festival, this community event has evolved over the past three decades into a summer tradition loved by the Casper and surrounding area communities!
Early Years Triathlon
The First Annual Parkway River Festival looked a lot different than the Riverfest we see today. The earliest events featured a “Run, Ride, and Row” Triathlon where participants would begin at the Casper Events Center in the early morning. After completing the competition, a barbeque, Rubber Duck Regatta, and awards ceremony followed at Crossroads Park, with traditional festival activities rounding out the day. The Triathlon and river festivities continued in a similar fashion until 2003 when the Parkway River Festival became the Parkway Brewfest.
Enter the Beer
In 1997, beer sampling became a staple of the river-front festivities. The early Parkway Brewfest featured beer samples from six local and regional breweries, the Great Duck Regatta became Great Duck Derby, and the Platte River Parkway became Platte River Trails. What has been the single remaining constant of the river festival is the live music. Since the beginning, the event has always featured live bands to entertain the Casper community, including fan-favorites like Chad Lore, The Tremors, Ken Gilchrist, Michael Hurtwitz, Inda Eaton, Barrel House, Platte River Bandits, John Kirlin and the High Planes Drifters, Mastermind of Monkey, Jeff Stanley, and more. The addition of the Brewfest proved to be a summer highlight, along with the delicious food, local tunes, Duck Derby excitement, and family fun booths and activities.
If you’ve been in Casper for a while, you’ve probably been to Riverfest (if not what are you even doing?!). Today, the event is a Casper summer tradition that still features all of the above. The craft beer tasting now features unlimited sips (with purchased ticket) from over 20 local and regional breweries including Casper’s own Mountain Hops Brewhouse. Food vendors include local food truck fare from barbecue to pizza and tacos. The Rotary Club of Casper’s Great Duck Derby is still a favorite and plenty of vendors and family fun booths still line Crossroads Park. New to the Riverfest activities is the first annual microbrew competition featuring a people’s choice award! Did we mention the event now includes bounce houses?
As our biggest fundraising event of the year, Riverfest has always been and continues to be a big deal to the Platte River Trails Trust. The event allows our organization to maintain and build the trail system throughout the area. However, we know it means just as much to the Casper community, our sponsors partners, and local vendors. As we celebrate 30 years of Riverfest, we hope you’ll join us at Crossroads Park on August 20th from 12-5 p.m. Come enjoy live music, food, and family fun. Remember to purchase your ticket today for unlimited sips of craft beer (and don’t forget to bring your ID)!
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