Riverfest prep slowed by weather, doesn’t stop volunteers
LA CROSSE Wis. (WKBT) — The gates at Riverfest are officially opened.
Organizers said its taken a lot of time and effort to get to this point, but they are ready for a fun filled weekend.
Volunteers have been working around the clock since last Thursday to get Riverside Park ready for Wednesday’s opening. Weather slowed the process down, but crews feel they have things looking good.
Only the finishing touches are left for the final day of prep before crowds fill up.
“We’ve got some more banners to hang up, we’ve just got final clean-up plans, picking up garbage cans, making sure those are upright since we tipped them over for the rain,” Riverfest president Nick Bjerke said.
Bjerke said the rain that’s fallen over the past week has some places in the park a little muddy. It even prevented food vendors from arriving before Wednesday.
“They were delayed with the rain being loaded in too so we’re making sure they have what they need, finishing up electrical work for them and making sure they have power for tonight as well,” Bjerke said.
The first day of Riverfest kicks off with a concert by Rick Springfield. Stage crews were on hand making sure everything was ready for tonight’s show.
“Well, the biggest part is getting all taken out of the truck. Once you’re done with that it’s basically putting a small jigsaw puzzle together as far as plugging things in,” Springfield’s production manager David Heiser said.
Heiser said even though there has been lots of rain it’s not enough to cause any issues.
When setting up for an outdoor concert though he said you need to prepare for everything.
“We have gear that has to be at certain wind levels you have to take safety into consideration and they have actual regulations as far as what can actually be put up,” Heiser said. “That’s kind of what we ran into today. Some of our equipment we couldn’t actually use, simply because of the wind levels.”
Bjerke said staff is watching the river level closely. High water have forced them to cancel a few events, but as of right now, the fireworks will go on as planned.