Being the Riverfest commodore

Onalaska couple Mike Diveley and Joyce Diveley are Riverfest commodore and first mate

It was a beautiful day and many people were outside celebrating Independence Day in Riverside Park at Riverfest Friday.

One person that has been very busy the past few days is Riverfest commodore Mike Diveley.

Mike Diveley and his first mate, Joyce Diveley, will be the first to tell you being a Riverfest commodore is fun.

As commodore and first mate, the Onalaska couple said their role is to pass out the commodore buttons, which are a hot item with the kids, and meet a lot of great people.

“It’s been spectacular,” Mike Devely said.

As commodore and first mate, the Diveleys are the ambassadors for Riverfest.

“We hug, we kiss, we put pins on people,” Mike Devely said.

Meeting the people from their community is what they look forward to most.

“It’s definitely the people. We have met and seen so many people, so many friends,” Mike Diveley said.

“The other thing is all the little children that come and want to be at the parade, be at the festival, want the buttons, see the dogs, all the things that are going on,” Joyce Diveley said.

Becoming the commodore and first mate, the Diveleys are recognized as part of a group of people who are devoted to our community.

“Every year the organization, the commodore organization, looks through a list of applications to be a commodore. Normally they are nominated by somebody else because of their community service, different projects that they’ve led in the community or anything else that they’ve really given back,” Riverfest President Nick Bjerke said.

“We’ve always tried to fly under the radar. We do a lot of volunteer work with a lot of different organizations, in our city of Onalaska, Rotary Lights, Irish Fest, different things in our town and we just try to help out wherever we can,” Mike Diveley said.

The Diveleys said they’ve had nothing but fun since being named commodore and first mate in January. They say Riverfest is a special event because it brings together community, family and celebrating our country’s independence.

“I think the highlight is to remember that today is the Fourth of July. Today is all about our country, all about our veterans, past and present, and to honor them and to celebrate their contributions to our country. Today is all about our country and the good country that it is,” Mike Diveley said.

A commodore is only selected for one year. When the next commodore is selected the Diveleys will mentor that couple in the role of commodore and first mate. After their reign comes to an end the Diveleys plan on staying involved with Riverfest for many years to come.