Night cools, Riverfest heats up

August 4, 2006

After several days where thermometers hovered around the 100-degree mark, Mother Nature gave the city a break as the 20th annual Riverfest celebration kicked off Thursday night with clear skies, cool temperatures and a rousing performance by the recently reunited country band Little Texas.

You know what? It has been hot everywhere we have gone so this is awesome, said Porter Howell, lead vocals and guitar player for Little Texas. Awesome night, beautiful weather and a beautiful little town with a river you got here.

The festival was kicked off with the Cajun music of Copper Box, and although the grassy area in front of the band shell was almost empty when the concert started, spectators started flowing onto the field by the time the Oshkosh-based band started its third song.

This is the second consecutive year Copper Box has performed at Riverfest, and Dan Jerabek, lead vocals and accordion player, recognized a face in the crowd before the band played their hit Jambalaya.

We would like to dedicate this song to the gentleman in the orange Copper Box shirt that has been here all day long, Jerabek said. I remember you here from last year, but I think then you were wearing purple, but this year he's got his Copper Box shirt armed and ready.

Copper Box, which performed for about two hours, entertained the crowd with such songs as That's Enough of That Stuff, Last Cigarette, Zydeco Party, Sure Fire, Born on the Bayou and Give It Up or Let Me Go.

But what got the crowd's attention the most was Copper Box playing the Pink Floyd song Comfortably Numb, but with some polka flavor added.

Although it is impossible to get an exact head count of how many people visit the festival, Schultz said Thursday was one of the best opening days in the 20-year history of Riverfest because of the high amount of food and beverage sales.

It was a good crowd, Schultz said. It was probably one of the best starts we have had for the festival. ....