Rockin’ River, Mission Fest heat up district

Two massively popular events held in Mission this weekend

It’ll be a hot weekend in Mission as Rockin’ River Music Festival and downtown’s Mission Fest sizzle with music and fun.

Rockin’ River, the Lower Mainland’s largest country music affair, begins today (Thursday) and runs until Saturday at Mission Raceway Park.

The annual event started four years ago and has grown annually. This time around, the festival will be stretched out over three days, instead of two.

“We added a kick-off party on Thursday,” said Kenny Hess, a performer and organizer with Rockin River, who hopes fans will enjoy a taste of the show on opening day and return for more Friday and Saturday. Pre-ticket sales indicate there will be about 2,500 people at the festival each day, but Hess is hoping that number will be doubled.

“People like to show up at the last minute.”

The list of performers on Thursday include Aaron Pritchett, Karen Lee Batten, Brent Lee and Tyler Whelan.

There will be a dance floor and lots of games throughout the festival. Proceeds from the games will benefit local charities, said Hess.

Todd Richard, The Higgins, Victoria Banks, Kenny Hess, Randy Bachman and Dwight Yoakam perform Friday, and Shane Chisholm, The Matinee, Stacey McKitrick, Ridley Bent, One More Girl, George Canyon and Blue Rodeo will take the stage Saturday.

They’re all great entertainers, said Hess, who couldn’t say enough about Yoakam, who will be closing Friday’s show.

“He’s fantastic,” said Hess. “He plays one hit after another. Randy Bachman has more hits than anyone can imagine and George Canyon is one of my buddies.”

Hess has opened for Yoakam in the past and has written songs with Bachman. He has also known Canyon for close to 20 years when they were both trying to find their wings in the music industry.

For tickets and information on camping, visit rockinriverfest.com or call the Rockin’ River hotline at 604-733-2235.

 

Mission Fest

Mission downtown businesses are opening their doors and closing down the street for the second annual Mission Fest. This large community celebration is the ultimate customer appreciation event.

There will be many in-store activities and people are encouraged to wander from store to store to see what’s happening, said Ronda Cushnie, Mission Downtown  Business Association’s executive director. On the street, there will also be vendors, buskers, a car show, as well as the fire department’s new truck.

The event begins at 10 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m. A stage will be set up by Tim Hortons and opening ceremonies start at noon.

First Avenue will be closed to vehicle traffic, except for those entered in the car show at Grand Street. There is only room for 75 cars, so it’s first come first serve. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and is $10.

There will be seven bouncy castles, a petting zoo and pony rides. There will also be a kids chalk zone by Magnolia’s, and the first 200 children ages 12 and under at the event will receive a goody pack with sidewalk chalk, bubbles, crayons, stickers and more.

“Even though Mission downtown is opening its doors, we couldn’t do it without community support,” said Cushnie, who is expecting 7,000 to 10,000 visitors downtown this weekend. Last year 5,000 attended.

A few businesses on Second Avenue are also participating, including the Farmers’ Market, which will be extending its hours, and the Mission Community Archives, where will be be a strawberry tea and ice cream.

For more information and a list of sponsors, visit www.missiondowntown.ca.