Last Night of Riverbend 2012

This may not come as a shock to you, but Riverbend 2012 is officially over. Saturday, June 16th was the last night, offering a wide variety of entertainment for the festival-goers who decided to get out of the house.

The night for us started out just about the same as any other, except, I remembered this time to grab the camera before leaving the house. Since we had the extra pin, already, and I knew it meant that everyone was going, I thought it would be fun to grab some pictures of the last night of Riverbend. So, early on, I changed the batteries and set the camera in a spot that I couldn’t possibly miss.

As any other day, we rounded up what we wanted to take with us and loaded it into the cars. Again, we took the two cars to keep everyone comfortable for the trip. We had our tarp, chairs, and sunscreen packed and ready to go.

Since we realized that the Riverbend mugs we purchased were allowed through the gates, we decided to grab ours so we could get a refill as soon as we made it through the crowds.

Of course, while rushing to get things done, nothing ever turns out as we expect it to, but thankfully, we didn’t leave anything behind; that we know of, anyway.

We pulled up at our usual parking spots to find the row of spaces completely empty this time. Surprising; I know. So, we parked and jumped out of the cars. As soon as we had everything unpacked, I began snapping pictures here and there to show you a little bit of what I have been talking about. Mostly, the pictures are of downtown Chattanooga, including the pictures of the festival, so read on and enjoy the snapshots that accompany this one.

There we were: my mother leading the way to the end of the block, my younger brother not too far behind her, and her mommy pushing our daughter along. I was at the back of the pack taking pictures. Surely I looked like a tourist who just arrived in town. I got so many weird looks from passersby that I couldn’t help but smile when I noticed each of them.

Still, I was snapping away with the camera, grabbing memories of everything that I thought would be important when I sat down later that evening. Unfortunately, I took pictures of a bunch of random stuff, and didn’t have time to write down the name of the building, the parking structure, nor the bush.

Needless to say, due to my taking pictures, it took us a little longer to make it to the main gates of Riverbend. Well, the stroller was also run through a puddle of sticky stuff, which led to rocks getting stuck in the tires, I think. So, we made a stop for that, too, and I snapped a few more pictures while waiting around.

There were quite a few people out and about, so I felt that I needed to wait in order to capture a picture with very few people, if any at all. I know I took a picture of the Sheraton Read House Hotel, the Suntrust building, and a poster that was hung in the window of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce on Broad Street.

Then, I snapped a couple pictures of the Tivoli Theater sign, to show that it also reads: Chattanooga’s Tilvoli. I also took a picture of a poster at a bus stop that offers some information about Chattanooga’s history, and a sign that had been set out to show that available parking lots were charging $10 per vehicle that wanted a place to park.

Then, there’s the picture of the sign that Southern Comfort Steakhouse and Nightclub set out, showing their dinner special. A sign that was painted on the side of a building downtown many years ago still remains, telling that Chattanooga, Tennessee is the world’s first city to bottle the beverage that is now being sold in every nation of the world, save for two or three.

I took a few more pictures of the view of downtown, then grabbed a picture of another sign showing Sweet Pepper’s Deli offering $1 beer …with entree, of course!

Chattanooga’s Creative Discovery Museum is one place that I have heard many parents talking about over the years. I haven’t done much research on the place to find out how much tickets are, or what their specialties are, but I know I’ve heard some good things about it. (I wasn’t interested when I went years back for a friend’s birthday party; still not.) Though, I may end up taking my daughter there when she gets a bit older.

A picture of “downtown” painted on a building was my next subject, followed by a sticker that someone decided to leave on a pole. I like that sticker; it makes me laugh.

Ahh, yes! There’s the entrance of the AT&T Field that I mentioned in one of my lasts posts. I was hoping that I had gotten it. You may not be able to see the sign very well; my apologies, but that is the entrance area of the not-so-new AT&T Field stadium.

The Tennessee Aquariums, well-known for their variety of aquatic creatures, offers sights even before you reach the awkwardly designed building. One of these pictures show the roof, which is actually a solarium that offers views of trees and non-aquatic creatures. (I haven’t visited in a while, so I’m not sure what they have up there now; the area when I last visited was setup as a natural habitat for butterflies.)

The other pictures show the fountains that offer passersby the chance to wade in the water, play when it’s higher, and the horse-drawn carriages. There were a couple others in the back behind these two, but I think the nearby bushes hid them from view.

So, I instead took pictures of the IMAX 3D Movie Theater, and the old-time Bijou Theater, which are nearly right across the street from one another. A quick spin of one-hundred-eighty degrees, and there’s the entrance of the Riverbend Festival; trash can blocking the poster that reads: “Tennessee Lottery Welcomes You To Riverbend”, included.

Right inside the main gates, there are plenty of booths lining the street’s edge that offer many interesting things; including a chance to win a quad-runner, bags, koozies, and many other goodies.

Then comes some of the vendor booths that offer Funnel Cakes, lemonade, alcoholic beverages, and a variety of foods.

Just about all of the area’s local radio stations were present, offering their own selection of goodies to be won by drawing names.

The Coca-Cola Stage in all of it’s glory sits right on the bank of the Tennessee river; literally, it’s actually on a barge that has been docked on the water’s edge. The next picture in the series shows the blanket seating right in front of the stage, which offers seating for blankets only at the price of $10 per person on a blanket.

Following those, I took some pictures that show the seating arrangement at the Coca-Cola Stage, but this view only shows the right side of the stage, along with one of the forklifts used to hold the large screen that everyone stares at.

Up next: The view of the Tennessee Aquariums from the back of the buildings; the Market Street Bridge; and a few shots of the steps at Ross’ Landing, leading down toward where the boats are docked. The sign at the end of the dock reads: Welcome Boaters! Festival admission pin required for entry; which means, basically, that if you don’t have a pin, the festival security will lead you directly back to the boat that you stepped off of.

I don’t usually get too caught up in the happenings at the festival, since I’m usually there for the bands and the music alone, but had I had the extra $5 or $10, I may have stopped by Crazy Chameleon to get some of their attractive artwork airbrushed onto my face, neck, or maybe my arms.

Each year of Riverbend, starting some years ago, they’ve offered the Riverbend Beach area. Sand sculptors come in to shape the sand however they’re asked to do so, and then it’s sprayed with a chemical or two to keep the sand stationary. – Don’t try to destory the work. One man who put his foot through the face of a sculpted performer, due to a light argument, ended up in handcuffs when the police noticed his sand-covered shoe. – This year, they had the sculptors work on several different pieces for the performers. I’m still not entirely sure if it changes nightly, as the happenings of the festival change, or if it’s all done up before Riverbend starts and remains the same. It’s anyone’s guess right now.

Working our way through the crowds of the festival, again, you’re presented with a better idea of how many people attend the festival on a nightly basis. Then, we reach the vendor booths. Pizza and breadsticks, hamburgers, fresh lemonade, among many other drinks and foods, are readily available to anyone at the festival. – I still say that five tokens ($2.50) is a complete scam for a bottle of Dasani, but people still pay up when they get thirsty. Again, just my opinion here; no offense meant.

Ahhh. Yum! Fresh lemonade, a Bloomin’ Onion, and some tater tots smothered in cheese and chili. Who wouldn’t want to dig in? I mean, depending on the price, of course.

Here we have a couple of the booths setup to serve alcoholic beverages, which also hand out beer wristbands; to those old enough to claim one. If I’m not mistaken, they only serve people who are wearing a wristband. Or, you have to wear the wristband to signify you’re of age. Never tried; not sure. I did hear one of the guys yell out something like “Get your wristband here!” which was followed by a girl screaming, “Can I have one?” that was quickly replied to with a resounding “No!” – I laughed.

Then comes the trailer for Kangaroo Express gas stations, offering a wide variety on their menu. Sausage Dogs, Cheddarwurst, and Nachos on one side. Do you notice the TUMS on the opposite? – Intelligent thinking there, people. Way to go!

From the vendors, I was stuck pushing the stroller for a bit to make it through a tough crowd without being slowed, and to give my friend the benefit of the doubt of making it through the crowd while carrying a 32 oz. mug of Dr. Pepper with a small stack of Philadelphia Steak and Cheese sandwiches.

We met back up with my mother and younger brother at the cozy, little shaded spot by the water’s edge, and I took a few more pictures of the water, the pillars that support the Olgiatti bridge, and the Southern Belle. I recently found out, to board the Southern Belle, you must first pay a fourteen dollar cover charge.

After we finished our snack and meals, we managed our way through the crowds to get refills before wandering back to the tarp and chairs. I snapped a few pictures of the crowd, and the people that had returned to their chairs before we made it back.

Then, I took pictures of the water, the crowd, and the side of the stage to show you the speakers that were blasting into the crowd the tunes that were played on the stage. Can you see those big, black boxes? Those are definitely speakers.

Following are some pictures of the crowd, another of the Market Street Bridge, boats on the water, and a picture of a plane tagging alone a message that reads: Wright Jewelers – Put a ring on it, followed by their phone number. – I laughed when I saw the message in the sky. Mainly due to arguing with my ex-girlfriend about personal issues that include marriage.

The bright screen changed from one of the other stages and began showing messages, so I started up my firing finger and snapped pictures of what we were offered.

Naturally, I would have thought that the welcome would have surely come before anything else. If you guessed the same, we both would’ve been wrong.

The sun lowered behind the mountains and it started getting dark. So, most of the pictures are too blurred to really see much of anything good.

Lauren Alaina made her way onto the stage shortly after and began singing. I didn’t really get to watch the beginning of the performance, though. I was tending to my daughter, who decided that she wanted to throw a fit out of being tired and thirsty. My mother and her mother had already gone to get food and drinks, so neither of them were available for me to tell to get her something.

When they returned, I snapped a few more pictures of the screen and decided that it was time to start back for home. I rounded up my daughter and started through the crowds. – If the stroller happened to catch your ankle, I do apologize. In my defense, I was lightly screaming: “Stroller coming through! Excuse us!”

I left the camera behind for pictures to be taken, but completely neglected to mention what, specifically, I wanted pictures of. So, pictures were taken of the firework display that went up at the end of the last night, but no pictures were taken of the walk back to the car, to show downtown during the night, as I had hoped. We all miss out on that view together, I guess.

On the way out, we stopped by one of the EMT tents for a sippycup full of water, then proceeded to the exit, and finally the long walk back to the car with a tired child in a stroller. I reassured her several times during the walk that I would get her more to drink and some food as soon as we made it back home, but after the water, she seemed to be all right.

We made it back home in one piece, though a car beside us got pulled over for having no lights on around 10:45pm, even after a police officer flashed his lights at the car. Smooth move there to ignore the warning.

Shortly after pulling up, she gave me an awkward look, silently asking: “What’s that noise?” So, I turned around on the front porch and pointed out the fireworks that were visible through the trees. Once I explained to her that they were being shot into the air from where we had been only minutes before (downtown), she released a disappointed sigh and put her head down. Right about that time, I felt bad for bringing her home, but I knew that she was so tired after so much excitement.

We got into the house and I cleaned her up, got her some juice in her sippycup, and by the time I was coming back through to ask what she wanted to eat, she had already grabbed her blanket, ready for bed.

I did the usual daddy routine of telling her good-night and sweet dreams, and within just a few minutes, she was out cold. I felt better once I knew for sure that she was exhausted and ready for sleep. Then, I came into the kitchen and sat down at my computer, where I began jotting down my thoughts and notes for the previous night or two of Riverbend.

Of course, I’m missing some details about each of the nights that everyone went, because I was busy paying attention to so many things, but I think it turned out all right in the long run.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so I’m told, and I took plenty of pictures while we were at Riverbend, even before we made it to the main gate. I know I had fun during the nights that I went, and I’m sure my daughter, mother, younger brother, and friend also enjoyed themselves during the concerts. So, all in all, I think it turned out pretty well.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the experiences. Below, you will find more information about the festival, and my Facebook account, so you can view all of the photos that were taken during the last night of Riverbend 2012.


C. A. Husted @ Facebook.com: ca.husted.1 …to see the pictures that were taken. WordPress isn’t wanting to cooperate with my images.

RiverbendFestival.com – Information about the nine day festival in downtown Chattanooga, straight from the Friends of the Festival; those who are responsible for hosting the event. The website offers information about the entry prices, the upcoming events, and so much more.

Riverbend on Facebook! – Catch news from the volunteers as well as comments and pictures of the festival!

Riverbend on Twitter! – Jump in the conversations using the hashtag: #riverbend.


The events in this blog posting took place on Saturday, June 16, 2012.

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