Team Cattleman’s compete in the women’s division of tug of war during the Party on the River, Saturday. Mark Wilson Photo
Roswell’s Party on the River kicked off Saturday at Cahoon Park, bringing hundreds of families under the sun to enjoy an assortment of tasty treats, sporting events, vintage cars and motorcycles and a huge lineup of musical entertainment.
The party began with loud cheers for the event’s largest sand volleyball tournament to date, with 21 teams competing for prizes, and a flag football tournament that will provide winners a free entry into this summer’s Hike It & Spike It. Audience participation only grew as rivals battled for supremacy in a tug of war, a staple of the annual event that Parks and Recreation Superintendent Laurie Jerge said is just one of many activities that brings roars from the crowd each year.
“(The party) is just as fabulous as it was the first year that we did it, with that same excitement in the air,” Jerge said. “The community really supports it, and it’s just a great way to spend a weekend in this beautiful New Mexico weather.”
The Valley Vintage Motor Car Club held its 38th annual vintage car show, the group’s second in conjunction with Party on the River. The show featured about 60 cars ranging from Model A speedsters to brand new Camaros.
VVMCC Vice President Kenny Forrest said the show had a great response, with onlookers admiring rare cars like a 1941 Ford convertible and a 1936 Roadster pickup.
“It’s great because it’s a family event where kids come out; there’s a lot of history, a lot of innovative workmanship on these cars, and it’s a really good thing for the community,” Forrest said.
Joe Vargas, event coordinator, said the party’s music always brings large crowds of people to the park to enjoy affordable performances from local, regional and national artists. He says the community’s enthusiasm for live music is a big reason Party on River gets outstanding lineups at every event.
“Roswell is a great place for music, and we’re starting to get that reputation from all the artists,” Vargas said. “I think more than anything it’s the people. The people here just appreciate the entertainment and appreciate having an opportunity to see these artists. Thanks to the city of Roswell and all of the sponsors, we’re able to keep this price down to $5 a person so that everybody in the whole family can come.”
Saturday’s main stage lineup included CW Ayon, Mad Moe ’Zell, Cowboy Mafia and Work in Progress, headlined by Shooter Jennings, who entertained crowds with a Country-Rock style of music.
The city will welcome the Kumbia Kings to the stage at 6 p.m. tonight, as the Latin Grammy-winning group returns to Roswell after playing before an enormous crowd at the Eastern New Mexico State Fairgrounds about eight years ago.
“It’s going to be huge,” Vargas said. “And now here they are coming back with the original (members); I’m sure we’re going to have the biggest crowd we’ve ever had here.”
Gates open at 10 a.m. today, with food and game booths and the Low Rider Car Show. Sand volleyball will resume at 10:30 a.m., and flag football at 11 a.m. In addition to Kumbia Kings, main stage events will include performances from CW Ayon, Tequila Nights, 3 M CREW, Night Train, and St. John’s Dancers.