EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

September 6, 2013

River Ruckus takes over city center

HAVERHILL — For decades, Haverhill people talked about the Merrimack River as the community’s greatest natural resource.

It was something the city needed to take advantage of, they said, as Haverhill was trying to reinvent itself.

Consider it done.

As boating increases on the Merrimack and downtown festivals use the river as a drawing card, the latest river-focused event has emerged.

The River Ruckus festival will be tomorrow, with a variety of events along or near the Merrimack — capped off by a fireworks display.

From a classic car show to live music to pontoon and kayak rides on the river, the downtown will be filled with activity tomorrow with River Ruckus 2013, organized by the Team Haverhill civic organization.

The event will be from 2 to 9:30 p.m., rain or shine, and will be held in conjunction with the fifth annual Haverhill Rotary Club Rubber Duck Regatta. The regatta starts at noon with kayak rides and duck adoptions, followed by the duck drop from the Comeau Bridge about 3:30 p.m. The person who “adopted’’ the duck that wins the race will receive $10,000.

The River Ruckus main festival will begin at the boardwalk behind The Tap Restaurant.

“We have something for everyone and the weather should be great,” said Tim Jordan, co-chair of this year’s river festival.

After successful River Ruckus events in 2010 and 2011, Team Haverhill put the event on hold last year so it could focus on the Essex Street Gateway Community Mural, which was unveiled to great fanfare in June of last year.

Now, the ruckus festival is back and better than ever, Jordan said.

“We have this incredible natural resource that is underutilized and the River Ruckus festival gives people an opportunity to enjoy the river and also helps draw people to the downtown,” Jordan said. “We’re expecting a large crowd this year, and from a broad area.”

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