RiverFest 2015 — photos of the inaugural event

Beautiful weather, a new walking trail, and mac and cheese bring thousands to downtown Tampa.

click to enlarge Christine Burdick, Lee Hoffman, Curtis Stokes, and Don Garcia participate in the ribbon cutting for the newly opened Selmon Greenway, a 1.7-mile trail that connects the Tampa RiverWalk and Ybor. - CHIP WEINER
Chip Weiner
Christine Burdick, Lee Hoffman, Curtis Stokes, and Don Garcia participate in the ribbon cutting for the newly opened Selmon Greenway, a 1.7-mile trail that connects the Tampa RiverWalk and Ybor.





The inaugural Tampa RiverFest launched Saturday morning along the nearly completed RiverWalk in downtown Tampa. The festivities began with a ribbon cutting ceremony opening the new Selmon Greenway, a 1.7-mile trail that connects Ybor City with the RiverWalk. Following the official opening, people were encouraged to take a walking docent tour to get first-hand information about the trail.





click to enlarge The weather was beautiful and warm, bringing thousands of people to the RiveWalk, which connects Cotanchobee Park behind the Amalie arena to Water Works Park In Tampa Heights. - CHIP WEINER
Chip Weiner
The weather was beautiful and warm, bringing thousands of people to the RiveWalk, which connects Cotanchobee Park behind the Amalie arena to Water Works Park In Tampa Heights.


The ribbon cutting was part of the larger RiverFest celebration that took place on the 1.8-mile pedestrian and bicycle path along the Hillsborough River. Food, drink, music, and lots of activities along the RiverWalk made an entire day of entertainment for thousands of people. On one end of the trail, Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park was the scene of the first Tampa Downtown Carnival with rides, activities, and typical carnival food. At the opposite end. Waterworks Park in Tampa Heights featured Jazz on the RiverWalk all day also hosted  food and beer. Throughout the day there were several concerts along the walk, including elementary and high school musicians in MacDill Park, and a kids play zone.

A fireworks display followed the second annual Mayor's Mac & Cheese Throwdown at Curtis Hixon Park, capped off with concert headliner G. Love & Special Sauce, all introduced by lovely emcee Melissa Carroll.








click to enlarge Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, people were encouraged to take a docent tour of the new Greenway to familiarize themselves with its features. - CHIP WEINER
Chip Weiner
Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, people were encouraged to take a docent tour of the new Greenway to familiarize themselves with its features.


click to enlarge At the end of the tour participants were encouraged to mark changes they wanted to see along the Greenway which will be submitted to the expressway authority as recommendations. - CHIP WEINER
Chip Weiner
At the end of the tour participants were encouraged to mark changes they wanted to see along the Greenway which will be submitted to the expressway authority as recommendations.


click to enlarge Carnival rides thrilled the crowd at the first Downtown Tampa  Carnival in Cotanchobee Park. - CHIP WEINER
Chip Weiner
Carnival rides thrilled the crowd at the first Downtown Tampa Carnival in Cotanchobee Park.


click to enlarge Carnival goers descend down the giant slide into content  Cotanchobee Park as part of the first Downtown Tampa Carnival. - CHIP WEINER
Chip Weiner
Carnival goers descend down the giant slide into content Cotanchobee Park as part of the first Downtown Tampa Carnival.


click to enlarge Coleman middle school had a string orchestra at MacDill Park. - CHIP WEINER
Chip Weiner
Coleman middle school had a string orchestra at MacDill Park.


click to enlarge Music lovers watch student musicians on one of the several stages set up along the RiverWalk. - CHIP WEINER
Chip Weiner
Music lovers watch student musicians on one of the several stages set up along the RiverWalk.


click to enlarge This fin harp was erected behind the Straz Center and will be there until mid-May. Those strolling along the RiverWalk were encouraged to don the rubber gloves which were coated in rosin and play the strings which stretched to the top of the building. Even though the instrument was called a harp, it sounded more like a violin. Here, John LoPresti of Brandon tries his hand. - CHIP WEINER
Chip Weiner
This fin harp was erected behind the Straz Center and will be there until mid-May. Those strolling along the RiverWalk were encouraged to don the rubber gloves which were coated in rosin and play the strings which stretched to the top of the building. Even though the instrument was called a harp, it sounded more like a violin. Here, John LoPresti of Brandon tries his hand.


click to enlarge Although the weather was cooler than usual for 1 May it was pretty hot sitting in the sun. Jazz lovers took to the shade along the water to watch the concerts in Water Works Park. - CHIP WEINER
Chip Weiner
Although the weather was cooler than usual for 1 May it was pretty hot sitting in the sun. Jazz lovers took to the shade along the water to watch the concerts in Water Works Park.


click to enlarge "We're getting the band back together". Dick Rumore, owner of Paragon Music, plays his saxophone on the stage with his band The Jazz Cellar Underground Orchestra for the first time in many years. They once played  in a club called the Jazz Cellar in Ybor Square - CHIP WEINER
Chip Weiner
"We're getting the band back together". Dick Rumore, owner of Paragon Music, plays his saxophone on the stage with his band The Jazz Cellar Underground Orchestra for the first time in many years. They once played in a club called the Jazz Cellar in Ybor Square


click to enlarge Just prior to starting service for mac & cheese the lines were long to get tickets. - CHIP WEINER
Chip Weiner
Just prior to starting service for mac & cheese the lines were long to get tickets.


click to enlarge Cigar City Brewpubs bacon and poblano mac and cheese topped with pork chicharones, pickled jalapenos and malanga chips. - CHIP WEINER
Chip Weiner
Cigar City Brewpubs bacon and poblano mac and cheese topped with pork chicharones, pickled jalapenos and malanga chips.


click to enlarge The Sail Pavilions's smokey cotija mac and cheese with guajillo chorizo topped with tomato jalapeno jam. - CHIP WEINER
Chip Weiner
The Sail Pavilions's smokey cotija mac and cheese with guajillo chorizo topped with tomato jalapeno jam.


click to enlarge Reigning mac & cheese champions Holy Hog Barbecue returned this year with their same winning combination of jalapeno mac & cheese as they proudly displayed their trophy from 2014. - CHIP WEINER
Chip Weiner
Reigning mac & cheese champions Holy Hog Barbecue returned this year with their same winning combination of jalapeno mac & cheese as they proudly displayed their trophy from 2014.


The celebration continues on Sunday, May 3, with the Tampa Bay Bloody Mary Festival, the Tampa Downtown Carnival continuing at Cotanchobee Park, and other activities along the RiverWalk.




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