Petaluma's quirky celebration of its beloved tidal slough known as the Petaluma River is back. The fourth annual Rivertown Revival takes place Saturday, July 20 at the David Yearsley River Heritage Center.
The music, art and community festival with a turn-of-the-century carnival theme attracts thousands of local residents, many in costume, to make merry along the river until the sun goes down.
"Attendance last year was around 7,500 people — and it was 102 degrees," said Kelin Backman, Rivertown Revival director. "We were so pleased so many came out to join us in that heat."
The all-day festival will have five stages for music this year, including a children's area with performances for kids featuring James K, the Ukelady, a magician and sing-alongs. A variety of old-time games, a petting zoo, and a natural dye workshop are also planned in the kids' area.
"New this year is our revival tent stage where we will have music and sideshows," said Backman. "It will be a fun place to hang out. It's also shaded, which is nice since we're pretty exposed to the elements out there."
The Rivertown Revival music lineup includes 35 local bands, including Homebrew, Misner & Smith, Kazamose, The Easy Leaves, Smokehouse Gamblers, John Courage, Alison Harris and the Barn Owls, Highway Poets and David Luning.
"We have two marching bands coming," said Backman. "The Hubbub Club and a church marching band will be roaming throughout the event."
Local lovebirds will be pleased to know that the $5 weddings are back. Backman said that they have about 30 couples set to tie the knot, and two of them will be same-sex weddings.
"One couple is coming all the way from Washington D.C. to get married at the Rivertown Revival," said Backman. "Councilman Gabe Kearney will be our officiant in the morning. State Senator Noreen Evans will be an officiant in the afternoon."
Not looking to get hitched this weekend? There are plenty of other activities to check out at the revival, from live music and art boat races, to arts, crafts and plenty of food and drink. Backman added that Heritage Salvage has constructed a trapeze and attached it to the back of a boat.
"We have an arielist coming from Vermont who will be doing her act on the trapeze off the boat and landing in the river," said Backman. "It's going to be really great."
With more people expected to come out to this year's revivial, Backman said "revivalists" are encouraged to walk, bike or carpool.
"Parking is very limited and traffic on East D Street on a regular day is a nightmare," said Backman. "So add to that close to 10,000 people with cars, it's a real challenge. Not to mention if the drawbridge goes up. We really encourage people to carpool, bike or walk to the event, especially if you live in town. We have bike valet parking for free."
Rivertown Revival is also a "green" event. Single-use containers are not allowed to be used by any of the vendors. Drinks are served in BioCups, or people are welcome to bring their own water bottles. There will also be reusable water bottles for sale, and BioCups available for free at water stations. Backman said it all helps cut down on waste and environmental impact.