GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis River Recreation got underway as the new Gallipolis Waterfront Amphitheater was dedicated at noon Monday to kick of this year’s Independence Day festivities.
The ceremony opened with remarks from City Commissioner Tony Gallagher and City Manager Gene Greene including many thanks.
The ceremony started with the VFW Post 4464 posting the colors: the American flag and the POW and MIA flags. While the guard was at attention, the Gallia Academy Madrigals sang the National Anthem. Gallia County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michelle Miller gave opening remarks regarding the schedule of events, and introduced Greene.
“This is normally an opening ceremony where we talk about River Rec, but we were excited that this was the first event in the new amphitheater,” Miller said. “I know a lot of people worked really hard to give us this place and we’re excited to see what the community does with it.”
Greene took the opportunity to thank the many people and organizations involved in the amphitheater project; including several local businesses and the hard work of municipal employees. The amphitheater will serve as the main stage for the festival’s activities.
According to the official proclamation given by the Gallipolis City Commission, the River Recreation Festival began in 1966 as a joint venture of the Gallipolis Boat Club and the Gallia Chamber of Commerce. It was intended as a Fourth of July celebration with uniquely themed activities including drag boat racing, water skiing, and other aquatically-themed events. While it has changed over the years, it is still the central celebration of Independence Day in Gallia County with many different activities throughout the decades. 2017 marks the 52nd annual Gallipolis River Recreation Festival.
The waterfront project began several years ago with grant money to update and improve the Public Use Area. Through several phases and improvements made in multiple areas, including the new mural and sign, amphitheater, reworking the hillside and access road, and handicap access improvements at the dock, the project was funded largely through grants.
The original deadline for the project was Dec. 1, 2016 but was pushed back due to issues with the original contracts and the lack of bids. Grants and contracts were then combined and re-presented, which then were received with successful bids.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108.