River Reunion parade

Bill Martin, with the Glisson James American Legion Post 59, hands a flag to a child during the River Reunion parade Thursday.

BRANFORD — With storms coming and going throughout the afternoon and evening Thursday, the 41st rendition wasn’t the best River Reunion.

“It wasn’t as good as we were hoping to be,” said Peggy Terry, one of the River Reunion festival organizers.”

The weather made sure of that.

Terry said while the festival still featured the parade down Suwannee Avenue and a fireworks show after dark, the children’s games and the Bedrock Derby were washed out by the storms. She said the rain arrived for the third time right around 5 p.m., or when the parade began lining up.

The parade still went on, but was abbreviated due to the weather as well.

“It went through pretty fast,” she said, adding the weather kept people away from the parade as well. “After that there was nothing else that went on at the Greenway because everybody was scared of the weather.”

This year’s festival marked the first River Reunion to be held on the Greenway, in between Suwannee Avenue and the Suwannee River. Terry said there is no way of knowing the affect the move had on the festival due to the weather.

She said there was about the same number of vendors as in years past when the River Reunion was held at Hatch Park. Attendance at the festival, though, was limited.

“It’s kind of hard to judge this year,” Terry added. “It was lower than normal. They could tell (the weather was coming).”

Duck Race

Rotarian Randy Herndon sounds the airhorn for the ducks to be dumped into the famous Suwannee River from the Frank Norris Bridge at Branford to begin the Branford Rotary Club’s annual Duck Race. Dumping the ducks from left to right were Sammy Odom, Karen Odom, Dillon Herndon, Kevin Herndon, Dr. Jena McInnis, and Kyle Herndon. Jena’s Dad, Dr. Don Wolfersteig, was instrumental in starting the first Duck Race.

Another event that did occur with the festival was the Rotary Club of Branford’s annual duck race at Ivey Memorial Park. Proceeds from the race are used by the Rotary for scholarships and community projects.

“Our Branford Rotary Club extends a big thank you to Doc Wilkerson and his crew for setting up the Duck chute again, FWC, Suwannee County Sheriff Sam St John and his Officers, everyone that assisted in putting on the event and the community of Branford for their support for another successful Duck Race,” said Rotary President Jenny Lloyd. “We couldn’t do it without everyone’s support!”

The winner of the duck race was Julia Tilton, who will receive $500. Other winners include Ann Hawes (second place, $300), Jessica Lambert (third place, $200), Ray Land (fourth place, $200), Judy Lamb (fifth place, $200) and James Corbin (sixth place, $200). Eva Tenny’s duck finished in last place with Tenny receiving $100.

All prizes are mailed.

Terry thanked all the sponsors that helped and participated with the River Reunion.

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