Port Neches RiverFest

Port Neches RiverFest

The 16th annual Port Neches RiverFest: Thunder on the Neches is officially underway at Riverfront Park in Port Neches and continues through Sunday, May 7. Sponsored by Neches Federal Credit Union, RiverFest features fantastic food, great music, vendors, the Mighty Thomas Carnival midway, plus the thrills, chills and spills of the tunnel power boat races on the Neches River.

The all-inclusive wristbands for the Entertainment Complex and boat races are $15, and they’re good for Thursday-Saturday. Youth ages 3 and under get in free, and areas free to the public are events at the pavilion, vendors (arts and crafts, food), the boat show, barbeque cook-off, car show, and Port Neches Park.

2017 RiverPasses for unlimited carnival rides are on sale now at the Port Neches Chamber of Commerce and online at PNRiverfest.com. Price is $40 per person for unlimited rides and free admission to the Entertainment Complex Thursday though Sunday.

Gates will open at 5 p.m. (close at 11 p.m.) on Thursday, May 4, and performing at the Entertainment Complex will be local rock band Livin’ Proof at 7:30 p.m. and popular Texas country act Reckless Kelly from 9:30-11 p.m. Brothers Willy and Cody Braun lead the band, which is touring in support of their ninth album, Sunset Motel.

Friday, May 5, the boats of the Southern Professional Outboard Racing Tour will begin testing from 3-5:30 p.m.

Carnival and vendor hours Friday are 5-11 p.m. with musical acts Pea Patch Orchestra (7 p.m.), popular country songstress Bri Bagwell (8:30-10 p.m.) and headliners the Turnpike Troubadours take the stage at 10:30 p.m.

The two-day finishing tournament for trout, redfish and flounder begins at 6 a.m. on Saturday, May 6. Entry is $30, and the deadline for entry is Friday, so register online at pnriverfest.com/entry-forms.

Tunnel boat action begins at 9 a.m. Saturday with races throughout the day, and the carnival area is open 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.

The classic cars will be on display from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and the Veterans Parade, which is set for 11 a.m., will begin at PN-G High School and end at the pavilion.

Other Saturday events include a cutest baby contest, a demonstration by Armentor’s United Martial Arts, and the sky will light up at 9 p.m. with fireworks.

Musical performances include local act Bayou Sounds (6:30 p.m.), Brian Jack & the Zydeco Gamblers (8 p.m.), and headlining on Saturday will be Shinyribs, who will take the stage at 10:30 p.m. For those who have never seen Shinyribs perform, Kevin Russell is a whole lot of country-soul, swamp-funk and tickle.

RiverFest concludes Sunday, May 7, and Day 2 of the finishing tournament begins at 6 a.m. with a 2 p.m. weigh-in, while the tunnel boats crank back up at 9 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. with an awards ceremony.

The vendor area will open at 11 a.m. followed by the carnival at noon, which will close near dark.

There will also be no admission charge for the Entertainment Complex on Sunday with a horseshoe tournament at noon, washer-board shootout (3 p.m.) and the announcing of the winners of the Miss Port Neches Pageant and Mother of the Year at 12:30 p.m.

Beaumont Exotics will have animals of all kinds on display at the pavilion from 1-3 p.m.

Golf carts will be available for patrons to transport them to and from the festival grounds and parking lots.

River Front Park is at 620 Grigsby near Port Neches-Groves High School. For a complete schedule and more details, view pnriverfest.com online or call (409) 722-9154.