Summer Fun Returns to RiverScape MetroPark
By Valerie Beerbower
With the recent spate of 90-plus temperatures, Daytonians aren’t waiting for the solstice to declare the official arrival of summer. Seasonal icons, such as ice cream shops and swim trunks, abound in nearly every neighborhood. RiverScape MetroPark is no exception. Visitors to this riverfront park will find plenty to do while school buses hibernate.
Concerts featuring a variety of musical genres will take the stage under the shaded pavilion this summer. Some upcoming series include:
-Jazz Series: The first Saturday of the month in June, July, and August will showcase some of the area’s best jazz groups. Up next are Dave Greer’s Classic Jazz Stompers (July 7) and Deron Bell Jazz Band (August 4). Music begins at 7:30 p.m.
-Salsa Series: Vibrant melodies of salsa music will pour from the pavilion the second Saturday in June, July and August. Bands on deck include Tropicoso (July 14) and Son Del Caribe (August 11), kicking off at 7:30 p.m.
-92.1 Summer Nights: Dance to your favorite R&B spun by WROU DJs the third Saturday during June, July, and August. Be sure to stop by, starting at 7:30 p.m.
-Big Band Nights: Thursdays in July and August are swinging with the sounds of the area’s best big bands. Get in the groove at 7:30 p.m. under the pavilion. To start this series are Hal Harris (July 5), Dayton Jazz Orchestra (July 12) and Tom Daugherty and the Tommy Dorsey Tribute (July 19).
-First Fridays @ 5: With the wrap up of the first in this series, remaining dates for First Friday festivities at RiverScape MetroPark are July 6 and August 3. Check out live music starting at 5 p.m. featuring Hey There Morgan in July and Stranger in August. New this year, free kayak rentals provided by Cox Media Group and free bike rentals provided by AAA (available on a first-come, first-served basis as weather permits). First Fridays @ 5 are sponsored by the Downtown Dayton Partnership, Clear Channel Communications and Heidelberg Distribution.
Another summertime staple—festivals! The Miami Valley offers a wide assortment of events celebrating the region’s rich heritage of multiculturalism. Here’s what can be found at RiverScape MetroPark:
-Cityfolk Festival, June 29-30 and July 1: Music, art and dance take center stage for this annual event. Headlining this year’s entertainment is bluegrass star Rhonda Vincent and the Rage. This multicultural festival features music and dance from around the globe.
-Dayton Celtic Festival, July 27-29: Take in the sights, sounds and flavors of Irish, Welsh and Scottish tradition. Iconic Celtic group, Gaelic Storm, will return to the festival, along with Scythian, Homeland and regional and local acts.
-Dayton African American Cultural Festival, August 25: This one-day, family event brings the richness of the African American experience to Dayton and its surrounding communities through culture, education and music. Come see an African Village, a pavilion of paintings and enjoy live R&B, Gospel and Jazz performances.
-Taste of Miami Valley, September 14-15: Select scrumptious samples from dozens of local restaurants. From Thai and seafood to cabbage rolls and barbeque, there is something to please all palates! Wash it down with specialty wines or import beers, and enjoy live music.
-Hispanic Heritage Festival, September 22: The exciting Hispanic Heritage Festival turns up the heat in downtown Dayton with hot Latin music and spicy ethnic fare. Samba to the sounds of salsa, merengue, Mexico, Latin jazz, cumbia, and bachata music.
Dayton is home to the largest bikeway network in the country! RiverScape MetroPark is a great place to start a biking adventure. Grab a Hub Trex card for ride suggestions. Hub Trex are cycling day trips that offer short, medium and long rides, giving cyclists a grasp on where the bikeways can connect them and the types of activities they can enjoy at each destination. RiverScape boasts its own bike hub, which offers special members-only amenities for cycling commuters, but also features public amenities like a tire pump, bike parking, coin-op lockers, restrooms and fresh food from Café Vélo. No bike? No problem! Rent a coaster bike, child seat, pull-behind child trailer and roller blades from Ride the River Rentals. Located in the bike hub (next to the covered pavilion), Ride the River Rentals is open weekends now through Labor Day, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., with special holiday hours of 1-8 p.m.
Try something different this summer: rent a kayak from Ride the River Rentals. Kayak rentals, provided by local retailer Whitewater Warehouse, will be available Saturdays through September 1 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kayaking is a great way to cool off during a long, hot afternoon—particularly when the iconic fountains shower paddle sport enthusiasts with fresh water from Dayton’s massive aquifer!
Take time this summer to visit RiverScape MetroPark. Take a break from work for a stroll around the landscaped ground with a treat from the concessions, discover Dayton’s unique multicultural heritage during a festival, groove to local musicians at an evening concert, or get fit exploring the Dayton region’s robust bicycling and paddle sport amenities. Visit metroparks.org/RiverScape to learn more.
Reach DCP freelance writer Valerie Beerbower at ValerieBeerbower@DaytonCityPaper.com.