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Riverfront Easter plans finalized

VIDALIA — Jan Yates’ dream of having a family friendly Easter celebration on the Riverfront in Vidalia started off with an idea and a few sketches.

Over the past four weeks those sketches have been turned into reality, and the first Easter on the Riverfront is just a few tweaks away from being complete.

“It has all been coming together,” event coordinator and co-founder Yates said. “We keep thinking we are finished, but we still have a little bit left to do.”

Yates said the Riverfront event has materialized even more than she could have imagined from her original sketches of the festivities.

“It has been a lot of hard work, but the end result has been outstanding,” she said. “Everyone has been working so hard to get everything together.”

Event Coordinator Teresa Dennis said the response from the community has been outstanding for the festivities, with more than 60 businesses sponsoring the event and 20 churches setting up as vendors.

“There has been a phenomenal response,” she said. “Some of the vendors aren’t just selling one thing. They are selling two or three things.”

Vendors will be selling food at the event, along with other items such as kites, designer purses, religious items and filled Easter baskets.

Easter on the Riverfront will also be host to a number of activities for children and their families, Yates said.

The event will begin at 10 a.m. with the first scheduled activity set to begin at the same time.

The Storytelling at the Tomb will run at seven different times throughout the day, with the last telling scheduled for 5:15 p.m.

A children’s Victorian Tea Party is also scheduled for six different times throughout the day, with the first being at 10:30 a.m. and the last at 4:30 p.m.

There will also be two puppet shows during the festivities, one at 1:30 p.m. and one at 3:30 p.m.

Yates said the highlight of the festivities, the Children’s Easter Parade, will begin at 2 p.m., and any child participating in the parade needs to line up in front of Comfort Suites Riverfront at 1:30 p.m.

Yates said children can decorate and ride in their bicycles, tricycles and wagons, with awards going to the best decorated in each category.

“These are going to be some good prizes,” she said.

Natchez resident Henry LeBlanc will serve as Children’s Ambassador for the parade for all of his hard work and dedication getting the parade up and running, Yates said.

“He really took a special interest in the festivities,” she said. “He has helped us non-stop for the past four weeks.”

Three separate Easter egg hunts will occur on Saturday. The first will be at 2:30 p.m. at the grassy area near the levee south of the bridge and will be for children up to 3 years old.

The second will be at 3 p.m. near Promise Hospital for children 4 to 7 years old and the third hunt will be at 3:30 p.m. at River View RV Park for children ages 8 to 10.

Yates said the parade and the Easter egg hunts are for children 10 years old and under.

The Vidalia Amphitheatre will also be host to three musical performances throughout the day, with the final performance at 5 p.m.

Peter Rabbit will be available to take pictures with the children at the gazebo on the Riverfront throughout the day, and there is also a giant Easter basket set up for pictures at the Riverfront entrance.

Dennis said that parents will be responsible for their children, and anyone caught on the river side of the Riverwalk will be arrested.

Open container and litter laws will also be in affect, Dennis said.

Yates and Dennis said the first year of planning and organizing the festival has been a learning experience that she hopes to improve on next year.

“We are definitely going to get started on this a lot earlier next year,” Dennis said.

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