Kids race through the inflatable obstacle course during Rhythm in Riverview Fun Fest event. All photos by Ned Jilton II.
KINGSPORT — Kids ran to the choo-choo train for a ride. Others used bubble wands to create large bubbles while others enjoyed inflatables.
Those fun activities were held as part of Rhythm in Riverview at V.O. Dobbins Field on Monday. The event also included vendors, face painting, games, music and a lollipop contest.
"The event is really almost like a block party," said Johnnie Mae Swagerty, event organizer and director of South Central Kingsport Community Development, Inc.
Rhythm in Riverview has taken place for 33 years. This year had the most vendors yet with 14 — varying from soul food, to Caribbean, to cool refreshments and funnel cakes.
The National Guard provided games and a racecar for attendees to enjoy. Friends and Neighbors, Inc. had a tent at the event.
A lollipop contest was held for children ages 5 to 8. Children were given a lollipop and the child to finish licking it the fastest, without biting or chewing, won. First and second place won a prize. Each child in the contest also received a participation prize. A new addition to the event this year was a masseuse from Bristol, Va.
"It's really where the community can come together and everybody can come in and see what we're doing in the community," Swagerty said.
Another new part of Rhythm in Riverview this year was Gospel Fest. Giv N Back, Full Gospel, Annointed, Witness, Shiloh, Bethel, NVY, New Beginnings and DMI were featured. Gospel Fest was originally scheduled to take place from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. but was put on hold due to storms in the area.
"It just gives everybody the opportunity to hear a gospel band," Swagerty said. "A lot of singers in the community want to hear some gospel music, so we're bringing that into Rhythm in Riverview."
Originally scheduled for 7 p.m., but put on hold due to the weather, was the main attraction, a performance by the Jaystorm Project Band. A "Happy Dance" was slated to occur before the band's performance as a crowd energizer.
Inclement weather ended up cutting the festivities short.
Chairman Kenneth Calvert said South Central Kingsport Community Development, Inc., was founded to improve the community.
"The incorporation began in 1994 after a six-year-old was shot by a drug dealer," said Calvert, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church. "From that, the community came together and has been doing improvements since then. Up until about 2004, this area was considered one of the hottest spots in Kingsport for drugs and other illicit activity. Now, this is probably one of the safest communities in Kingsport.
"That's a documented fact mainly because we're able to partner with the city, with the police department, with the fire department and HOPE VI. It was a cleanup campaign. After it all ended, with the help of the police department and everyone else, we have not had any major serious incidents in Riverview since and we were having shootouts almost daily before then."
Rhythm in Riverview was sponsored by South Central Kingsport Community Development, Inc., Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Eastman and W K P T.
"America provides opportunity and for this southwestern Kingsport community development and the community we support, great things can come from it. It's like seeing a dream come true for the Kingsport community," Calvert said.
For reprints go to: Times-News Photo Reprintscomments powered by Disqus