CLINTON — Diana Meyer of Clinton can’t wait for this year’s Riverboat Days celebration.

Since it began 45 years ago, Meyer and her entire family have made their way to Clinton’s riverfront to enjoy the festivities.

“We have been going forever,” she said.

While her children are grown, the tradition has not stopped.

Family members, including her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, some from as far away as California and Arkansas, will be coming to Clinton this year for the annual Fourth of July festival. The concerts are something they always look forward to seeing.

“It’s been wonderful,” she said. “We enjoy it.”

Clinton Riverboat Days 2006 will be a five-day event starting with the parade on June 30 and ending with the community fireworks July 4.

Fun Cards for RBD are being sold by non-profit organizations and will be available for $21 until midnight Sunday. After Sunday, Fun Cards will only be sold at the gate for $30.

Riverboat Days 2006 Main Stage acts will begin June 30 with Creedence Clearwater Revisited. The group has toured North and South America, New Zealand, Europe and Asia since 1995.

Only a few bands have been booked for two RBD performances, but no band ever has been back for a third time. That all changes July 1 when Sawyer Brown, which has the longest current uninterrupted run as a band in country music, steps on Main Stage at Riverview Park.

On July 2, a very familiar voice will command the Main Stage. Lead singer Rob Grill and the Grass Roots, one of the most played bands on the radio from the mid-1960s through the early 1970s, remain one of the most recognized sounds on classic rock stations. During those 40 years, Grill and the Grass Roots have averaged more than 100 live performances each year.

Foreigner will be the Main Stage attraction on July 3. Formed in 1976 and throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Foreigner was universally hailed as one of the most popular rock acts in the world, racking up scores of smash hits, multi-platinum albums and sold out concert tours.

On July 4, country is coming to Clinton Riverboat Days 2006 in the form of Phil Vassar, a songwriter with a winning vocal style, a crowd-pleasing show and a grand piano. Following Vassar’s stage appearance, Riverboat Days 2006 ends with the annual fireworks display.

Three new events also will be featured at this year’s RBD.

Mini River Tractor Pull

On July 2, Clinton Riverboat Days will be host to the Mini River Pullin’ Tractor Pull. A total of 12 classes will pull with trophies awarded to first, second and third place in each class. This event will take place on Riverview Drive overlooking the Mississippi River. This event is mainly sponsored by Merema Brothers Inc. of Fulton, Ill., with Color Wheel and Craig Jenkins Home Improvement providing the trophies.

Registration for the pull begins at 10 a.m. and pulling starts at noon. For more information look on Clinton Riverboat Days Web site.

Smokin’ on the River

Smokin’ on the River, sponsored by Lyondell Chemicals, will be a barbeque contest on Riverview Drive featuring teams from Clinton County to Texas and Las Vegas.

The BBQ contest is sanctioned by the Kansas City (Mo.) Barbeque Society and has been proclaimed a state championship by Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. The status allows the winner of Clinton’s contest to compete in national competitions. Certified barbeque judges will judge the contest.

Clinton Riverboat Days hosted a judge’s class in March in which 28 people were certified.

The teams will be competing for more than $10,000 in prizes. The teams will be preparing four categories: Beef brisket, pork shoulder, chicken and ribs. The Grand Champion of the contest will win $3,000 as the grand prize.

“I’m excited for the contest as we are getting a mixture of teams from the Clinton County area and from as far away Texas and Nevada and from established experienced teams to rookies,” said Ryan Veenstra, chairman of the BBQ contest and vice commodore of the festival. “Each team has a unique story from donating their winnings to cancer research to their secret recipes.”

Veenstra and Smokin’ on the River committee members Mary Jones and Bernie Holtkamp will be attending contests in the weeks prior to Riverboat Days. Veenstra attended a contest at the Kansas City Speedway in April, and other contests on the docket include the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, and contests in Marshalltown and State Center. There are nine other contests in Iowa including the Tri-State BBQ Cook-off in Dubuque, and the weekend after Riverboat Days the 15th Annual Illinois State Barbeque Competition will be in Shannon, Ill.

The teams will be setting up June 30 and cooking throughout the night. The contest will start around noon July 1.

“The thing to keep in mind is that this is a food contest not a food fest, so some teams may not distribute samples to the general public, and others may,” said Veenstra. “I’m looking forward to having the BBQ teams experience Clinton’s great hospitality.”

Race the Riverfront

Riverboat Days will be host to the first “Race The River Front” kart races. These are not the “fun karts” popular at amusement parks or even yard karts typically ridden in the back yard. These are pure machines capable of hitting speeds in the range of 80 mph.

The karts will race on a course set up in the parking lot just north of Alliant Energy Field. This exciting racing venue is perfect for large crowds. Spectators at most race events are only able to see a corner or two, or a straightaway, but here crowds will be able to see the whole race. Every corner, every straightaway, the start and most importantly the finish can be viewed from the bleachers set up in the Pony League outfield.

On July 3 the race teams will be practicing all day to set their kart up for maximum speed. On July 4 they qualify to set the field for each race class at 9:30 a.m. There will be a short break around 11 a.m. for lunch and driver introductions. The racing will start at noon and there will be solid racing up until about 5 p.m.

There will be Briggs classes (lawn mower engines burning alcohol), Yamaha 100cc two-cycle classes, and other pure race engines.

People with an interest in racing or just curious to see what this is all about are invited to stop down on July 3 and 4 and go back in the pit area to visit with the fathers and their racing kids.

Area kart teams will be competing for cash prizes and Riverboat Days trophies during this two-day event. Along with the Finals Race on July 4, there will be practice runs and celebrity races on July 3.

2006 Riverboat Days schedule

June 30

4 p.m.: Gates open

All through the day: Interaction Games, rock wall climbing, mechanical bull riding, power jump, old time photos, OH wet fun water balloons

5 p.m., Riverview Drive: KCBS BBQ Contest

5:30 p.m.: Parade starts

7:15 p.m., opening act: Smokey Blue and One Brick Shy

8:30 p.m., Main Stage: CCR Revisited

10 p.m., B Stage: music

Midnight: Grounds close

July 1

10 a.m.: Gates open

All through the day: Air Glory, rock wall climbing, mechanical bull riding, power jump, old time photos, OH wet fun water balloons, Todd’s pony rides

Noon: KCBS BBQ Judging: Riverview Drive

Noon to 3:30 p.m., B Stage: Battle of the Bands

1 p.m.: Kids Pedal Pull sponsored by American Family Insurance Joe Leonard

and Jim Voss

7:15 p.m., opening act: Whiskey River

8:30 p.m., Main Stage: Sawyer Brown

10 p.m.: B Stage

Midnight: Grounds close

July 2

8 a.m.: Canoe Race Registration, Ninth Avenue North Boat Ramp

9 a.m.: Canoe race begins to Camanche Harbor, sponsored by RHA Heating and Air Conditioning

10 a.m.: Gates open

All through the Day: Millers’ petting zoo, chainsaw artist, Interaction Games, rock wall climbing, mechanical bull riding, power jump, old time photos, OH wet fun water balloons, Air Glory, Todd’s pony rides

10 a.m.: Mini Tractor Pull registration

Noon: Mini tractor pull starts on Riverview Drive, sponsored by Merema Brothers, Fulton, Ill.

Noon to 3:30 p.m., B Stage: Battle of the Bands

1 p.m.: Clinton Area Showboat Theatre Performance

1 p.m. to dusk: Go-kart rental, Sixth Avenue North

4 p.m.: CAST performance

7:15 p.m.: Opening Act Coupe De Ville

8:30 p.m., Main Stage: Grass Roots

10 p.m.: B Stage

Midnight: Grounds close

July 3

8 a.m.: Go-kart racing, test and tune until 1 p.m., Sixth Avenue North parking lot, spectator seating Pony League field

10 a.m.: Gates open

All through the Day: Air Glory, Millers’ petting zoo, Interaction Games, rock wall climbing, mechanical bull riding, old time photo, chainsaw artist, power jump, OH wet fun water balloons, Todd’s pony rides

Noon to 3:30 p.m.: Battle of the Bands

1 p.m.: CAST performance

1 p.m. to dusk: Go-kart rental, Sixth Avenue North Parking Lot

4:30 p.m.: Rock In Prevention

8:30 p.m., Main Stage: Foreigner

10 p.m.: B Stage

Midnight: Grounds Close

July 4

8 a.m.: Go-kart racing, Sixth Avenue North Parking Lot, until 6 p.m.

10 a.m.: Grounds open

All through the day: Millers’ petting zoo, Interaction Games, rock wall climbing, old time photo, power jump, OH wet fun water balloons, chainsaw artist, Todd’s pony rides

10 a.m., Riverview Drive: Car show until 3:30 p.m.

Noon: CAST performance

1 to 3 p.m.: Kids day at B Stage area

1 p.m. Rock In Prevention with kids day at B Stage area

2 p.m., B Stage: Sheryl’s Showstoppers

3 p.m., B Stage: Steppin’ With Stacy

4 p.m., B Stage: Rock In Prevention

6 p.m.: Chainsaw artist auction

7:15 p.m.: Opening act, Battle of the Bands winner

8:30 p.m., Main Stage: Phil Vassar

Fireworks will follow the concert. Grounds close after fireworks.

Jaycees’ Carnival

Throughout Riverboat Days, the Clinton Jaycees Fourth of July Carnival will take place in the Alliant Energy Field parking lot.

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