by Alan McArthur
Several thousand people attended Parkville’s River Jam festival in English Landing Park on Friday and Saturday.
The 12th annual Blues, Jazz and Fine Arts River Jam was held on Friday and Saturday, June 15 and 16. According to Karen Montgomery, River Jam co-chair, around 15,000 people attended the River Jam over the two days.
This year’s River Jam honored Bill and Fran Grigsby. The two were honored on Friday night for their efforts to encourage growth in the Parkville area.
Grigsby resides in Parkville and is also a sports broadcaster for the Chiefs.
The festival had 38 artists selling paintings, photography, and other crafts, as well as 10 food vendors at the festival.
One of the vendors is Carol Flowers who sells jewelry.
“This is my fifth year here,” said Flowers. “This is a good show for me. I get a lot of repeat customers here and it’s an enjoyable location.”
The festival features local and national bands playing blues and jazz on Friday and Saturday.
River Jam draws patrons who enjoy listening to the jazz music. There are also many patrons who come to visit the fine arts booths with goods and crafts on display each year.
“We’ve come for years because we love jazz and being with friends,” said Marcia Justus, of Blue Springs.
Some of the River Jam attendees had never been to the festival or the park.
“We just moved into the area two weeks ago,” said Cindy Cottingham, with her husband Tim. “We heard about this and wanted to check it out.”
Even the bands enjoy playing at River Jam and some bands are reluctant to stop playing.
“Sonny Landreth, on Saturday, had everyone on their feet, and the band didn’t want to stop playing,” said Montgomery.
River Jam was the first event to be held in the newly reopened English Landing Park, after a clean-up effort by Parkville after the recent flood in May.
“It was fabulous,” said Montgomery. “The city did a great job cleaning up after the flood.”
The River Jam organization committee is happy with the way the festival turned out.
“We are very pleased with the results of River Jam,” said Montgomery.