CHAMBERLAIN — Chamberlain’s River City Friday Nights are set to kick off this week, with four straight Fridays of food and fun for all ages. The event is even offering COVID vaccines, in partnership with Sanford.
The fifth-annual celebration aims to build a bridge between families and area communities by bringing people to downtown Chamberlain for entertainment while also supporting local businesses and area groups after a slowdown over the past year.
“We try to keep everything local for the local businesses,” President of River City Friday Nights Mollie Harmon said, adding that some stores plan to stay open later than usual.
Steve Schoenhard, owner of Chamberlain-based food truck River City Grill, believes the outlook for the week is good.
“Everyone is ready to enjoy the outdoors and enjoy each other,” Schoenhard said, noting that traffic in the area has picked up recently.
Harmon said this year will be “back to normal,” and she’s expecting a larger turnout than years prior.
“We usually see between 750-1,000 (people) a night,” Harmon said, "but this year we expect a larger crowd because everyone is sick of being at home.”
Sanitizing stations will be set up, but masks will not be offered by the events.
Harmon said Sanford Chamberlain Medical Center will be offering COVID vaccines on-site for the first Friday.
This Friday’s theme is Ag Night, where anyone dressed up in an agricultural-themed costume can win a prize. Other themes include Superhero Night, Public Service Night and Chamberlain High School Alumni night.
Events scheduled for Friday include a pinecone bird feeder crafting station, a petting zoo and a tractor pull for kids; a variety of local and statewide vendors and live music by Wolfhound, a band based in South Dakota.
Following weekends include an axe-throwing station, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and music from Billy Lurken on June 25; a quilt show, cross-dressing competition and music from Loose Change on July 2 and music from Rewinder on July 9. Events begin at 6 p.m. each Friday
River City Friday Nights will not involve fireworks, as the Rock the Bluffs fireworks show is scheduled for July 4.