Riverfest appeared to go off without a hitch Saturday in Sand Springs as the community gathered together for an all-day festival celebrating one of the largest park projects in town history. Following a $6.2 million renovation, the former River City Park was officially rededicated as Case Community Park in honor of Mike and Pat Case who donated $2 million to the project.
Fifteen hours worth of festivities provided a little something for everyone this weekend. The party kicked off at sunrise with the launching of three hot air balloons. The balloons returned later that evening and touched down on the Great Lawn, providing spectators with a light show of burning helium.
From 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. the nearly two acre Great Lawn was a great parking lot for 119 entries in a car, truck, and motorcycle show. Two vehicles driven by Sand Springs native and World Champion racer Bennie Osborn were also on display.
Representatives from the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball organization unveiled the new Thunder Cares three-on-three half court to much fanfare. Kids were able to shoot hoops with the team mascot, Rumble the Bison. Big Blast Inflatables hosted a kids' zone, and the Rotary Super Splash Pad was also open for business with a brand new playground.
The Sand Springs Pokemon Go! club hid nearly a hundred Pokemon-themed painted rocks throughout the park for a scavenger hunt they hope will become an annual tradition. A chalk-art contest was also held, attracting a few dozen competitors.
There was plenty of food and drink available. Food vendors lined River City Park Road, including Short Bus Sandwiches, Rib Crib, El Jarocha Mexican Street Tacos, Purple People Feeder, Kona Ice, Harper's Hut Shaved Ice, Kingdom Concessions, and more. Monster Energy gave out free samples of their new soda, and Blue Bell Ice Cream passed out free vanilla cups to everyone.
The Charles Page High School Gold Pride Marching Band kicked off a ceremony to dedicate the park, followed by a mini performance of the Oklahoma! musical play. City Councilwoman Patty Dixon footed the bill for the production and starred in the performance alongside Travis Dixon, Mat Govich, Scott McQuade, Josh Westbrook, Shelby Eicher, and Ethan Eicher among others.
Local band The Rogues Five performed after the Oklahoma! production and covered classic hits from the 60s and 70s. The band is comprised of I.J. Ganem, Randy Ess, Philip Wilson, Bard Coats, and Jamie Oldaker. The band attained regional prominence during their high school days in the 1960s when they opened for The Doors. Ganem, Ess, and Oldaker have continued in the music industry ever since. Ganem and Ess's sons also performed with the band. Morgan Ganem is considered the sixth Rogue and closed out the night as a solo performer. Ess described his son, Dylan, as a Rogue-in-training.
Morgan Ganem performed a long set of electronic dance music, including both original music and remixes of modern and classic hits. The end of his set coincided with a massive fireworks show performed by Imperial Fireworks, the company that puts on shows for the Tulsa Drillers. The younger Ganem was a hit with the kids and after playing a remix of Justin Bieber's "Despacito," the stage was overflowing with children showing off their wildest dance moves for the rest of the show.