In six weeks, Miami Springs will turn into the River Cities Festival. The incoming bridge will close early Friday morning on April 11 and the Circle will be completely closed to all traffic at 2 p.m. The two stages, many vendors, and carnival rides will be set up during the day on Friday and at 5:30 p.m. the transformation will be complete.
The River Cities Festival tradition of three days of fun for all ages will continue until 9 p.m. on Sunday, April 13. Then the return of Miami Springs will take place, just in time for work Monday morning, April 14 when the incoming bridge re-opens.
The official grand opening of the 2014 River Cities Festival will take place at 7:30 p.m. at the Main Stage at the Gazebo, as 12-year-old Alyssa Martinez sings the national anthem. Elected officials from all the river cities and Miami-Dade County will be invited by Miami Springs Mayor Zavier Garcia to take part in kicking off the event.
For the first time since the ’90s, the River Cities Festival will have two stages to host major entertainment and big crowds are expected on both Friday and Saturday night.
The Main Stage at the Gazebo and the Woodys West End Stage by the outgoing bridge will be rocking ‘n’ rolling both nights with a variety of music for every taste.
At the Main Stage on Friday night, local favorites Flashpoint, Room Service, and Mr. Nice Guy will be playing right up until the closing at midnight. Each has a different style of music that festivalgoers are certain to enjoy.
At the Woodys West End Stage, two nationally known Latin bands will be performing. Tito Puente Jr., famed Latin jazz musician and percussionist, will perform on stage starting at 8:30 p.m. Hansel y Raul, the most dynamic duo in the history of Latin Tropical music, will perform from 10:30 p.m. to closing.
During the day Saturday — after participating in the 5K walk/run sponsored by the Miami Springs Community Center — browsing through the Arts & Crafts area along John Stadik Way, tasting the variety of food items from the many vendors, and seeking that special purchase while walking around the Circle are just a few of the activities. Also, there is a Cake Bake-Off in the afternoon and Milam’s Market Wine & Cheese Tasting in the evening.
Of course, there will be entertainment and demonstrations by local groups at both stages during the day on Saturday. And the Hialeah-Miami Springs Rotary Club’s beer booths and bars — Bryson’s Irish Pub at the Circle and Woodys West End Tavern on Canal Street — will be flowing then and throughout the three days of the River Cities Festival.
On Saturday night, the 6th Annual Miami Springs High School Mega Reunion takes place in its new location in the “Holleman’s” parking lot. With more than 1,000 alumni expected to attend, the area will be rocking and there will be live and DJ music on the Woodys stage, provided by the reunion organizers.
Meanwhile at the Main Stage, more local-favorite bands will be performing from 6 p.m. to midnight. Fire Brigade kicks off the night, followed by The Regs, and finally the Mid-Blue Fire Band up until the closing of the second day of the River Cities Festival.
The kids are not forgotten, as Children’s World is open throughout the three days, and the new “Zip Line” ride is sure to be popular. There will be many other rides on the grassy area at the end of Curtiss Parkway, and for the first time discount wristbands will be offered.
For $25, a wristband can be purchased for Friday, Saturday (two sessions) or Sunday, and the children can ride as many times as they want during that time, saving their parents money and having more fun. A presale for a special $50 wristband, good for the entire three days, will be offered from March 1 until the April 10 at the Gazette office (53 Curtiss Pkwy.) and by the Directors of the River Cities Festival (call 305-887-1234 for information).
Now on to Sunday — the casual day at the festival — highlighted by the ever-popular Chili Showdown and Animal General Hospital Dog Show. The Chili will be cooked and ready for tasting just after noon and your donation will support the Under-10 boys soccer team from Miami Springs. Dr. Tom Campbell has un-invited the cats this year but promises his Dog Show at the Woodys West End Stage from 2-3:30 in the afternoon will be special.
There will be bands at both stages right up until closing at 9 p.m. Sunday, with Harmony, Blunken, Iko Iko, and Eclipse among those scheduled to perform. The food vendors will be selling off that last ear of corn, stone crab and funnel cake while that last beer is drawn, as the 2014 River Cities Festival comes to a close.