hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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September 5, 2013

Raising a River Ruckus

Festival to feature music, fireworks and $10K winner

What a way to end the summer: An afternoon of events built around the river that once drove Haverhill’s economy and now celebrates its revival. And it is all capped off by a spectacular fireworks display.

“These events attract people into the city and showcase our downtown,’’ Mayor James Fiorentini said of the annual River Ruckus festival, which will be Sept. 7. “When people visit here, they see a revitalized Haverhill as a place for people to enjoy a wide venue of entertainment.

“These events show people what Haverhill can do, and hopefully they’ll come back,” Fiorentini said.

The Team Haverhill civic organization will present its third annual River Ruckus from 2 to 9:30 p.m., in conjunction with the fifth annual Haverhill Rotary Club Rubber Duck Regatta, which starts at noon. The River Ruckus will begin at the river boardwalk behind The Tap restaurant.

The ruckus will happen rain or shine. If it rains, the fireworks display will be postponed to Sept. 8.

The Rotary Club event, famous for its annual race of toy ducks on the Merrimack River to raise money, features ducks sold for a dollar.

Each duck is labeled with the sponsor’s name and put into a large container that will be emptied into the Merrimack River at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. The ducks will float down river to the finish line 700 feet away.

The first duck to enter a tube that marks the end of the race wins $10,000 for its sponsor. The money is donated by Rockingham Toyota-Honda of Salem, N.H.

The money raised by this event provides support for several organizations, including the YMCA, YWCA, the Boys and Girls Club, Emmaus programs for homeless people, Community Action program, the Bethany Homes for elders, Team Coordinating Agency and Merrimack Valley Hospice, said John Cuneo, co-chairman of the duck regatta.

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