Riverfest wraps up

WILMINGTON -- Organizers estimate 75,000 people came out to Wilmington's 29th annual Riverfest this weekend. Attractions included arts and crafts and food vendors, live music, dancing, and much more. Gracie Oosting, better known as Bubbles the Clown, has painted faces at Riverfest for 15 years. "I just enjoy the kids, painting pictures for the kids. I think it's fun just to watch their expressions," she said. While the face of Wilmington has changed over the years, Oosting has been a constant at Riverfest. She said she enjoys meeting generations of locals. She said, "They'll say, 'you painted me when I was little,' and some of them I can remember by what they picked or the way they sit in the chair." Taylor Simms of Wilmington brought her 5 year-old son Zachary to Oosting's face painting tent. "It's a great day. We came out because we knew there wouldn't be rain today," she said. A portion of the money raised is donated to a scholarship program at Cape Fear Community College. Rich Heck of Wilmington said, "I came out to see all the goodies. It's been quite an experience, I don't remember it being this large." Taylor Simms said, "It's a great way to see Wilmington and the people here. Get a little flavor of all the local entertainment, crafts, and fun for kids."

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So great that two of my elderly relatives got shoved off the sidewalk down near the Chandler's Wharf end and someone broke the window out of their rental car. Nothing took from the car was the bright side. They won't be back next year.