Cluck & pluck: Chicken roast, music fest are Aug. 20 at Riverside Park in Janesville

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Jake Magee
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

JANESVILLE—The Friends of Riverside Park and Janesville Lions Club don't want you to forget about the “gem” they've worked so hard to restore.

That's why, for the fifth year in a row, the two groups are cooperating to produce the Riverside Music Festival and Lions Club chicken roast, respectively.

The Sunday, Aug. 20 events are fundraisers for the groups, but their real purposes are to get residents to revisit this often-forgotten park, said Friends of Riverside Park Treasurer Sandra Hendricks.

“Janesville is supposedly the city of parks, and it's so important to make the community aware of what a beautiful park Riverside Park is,” she said.

The main draw of the music festival is, of course, the music. Michael Nehls and Steve Peck will play from 11:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m., and Rainbow Bridge will take the stage from 2:45 to 5:30 p.m., said group member David Cress.

“Nothing better than listening to music down by the Rock River,” Hendricks said.

The festival is a hit for kids, who will have plenty to enjoy during the event. There will be six bounce houses, clowns and face painting. The splash pad also will be available.

“We've been getting more kids each year,” Cress said.

In a tent, Home Depot will provide volunteers and materials for kids to make their own handmade projects, such as birdhouses or blackboards. The event is always popular with kids, and the business donates the materials and volunteers, Hendricks said.

“It sounds like a war zone when you go in the tent because kids are pounding away,” she said.

Kids and adults will have the chance to learn a new sport by watching the shuffleboard and pickleball demonstrations at 1 p.m. The two are games anyone can enjoy, Hendricks said.

“Whether you're 10 or you're 75, you can play,” she said.

And what would the event be without the Lions Club's chicken dinner? Cress said the chicken is sure to be moist and delicious.

“It's been an attraction to this event, and it's worth the money,” Hendricks said.

The chicken is so popular that organizers ran out early last year. Extra chicken has been prepared to fill the expected demand this year, she said.

One of the festival's perks is that the entertainment and parking are free. Only alcohol and food will cost money, Hendricks said.

After accounting for the cost of conducting the festival, the Friends of Riverside Park make about $1,500 to $2,000 each year, Hendricks said.

“It's a lot of work for that amount of money, but the real purpose of the event is to make people aware,” she said.

The funds from both the music festival and the chicken roast are put right back into the community through park improvements and Lions Club missions, Hendricks said.

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