Helena kicks off summer with Buck Creek Festival

As temperatures inch upward, Helena’s hoping to take advantage of the summertime feel with the Buck Creek Festival next weekend.

The festival, which is May 8-9, will feature the annual rubber duck race, musical acts, vendors and a children’s fun zone, among other attractions. The festival goes from 6-11 p.m. May 8 and from 10 a.m.-11 p.m. on May 9.

Councilmember Cris Nelson said she believes the festival is an anticipated event on the Helena calendar.

“It’s the annual event for the city of Helena. People just come down and enjoy themselves,” Nelson said. “A lot of families just spend the whole day there.”

During the two days, the festival will feature 10 bands — two on Friday night and eight Saturday. The musical choices range from classic rock to bluegrass gospel.

Nelson said she expects attendance to rival last year’s record 20,000 attendees.

“If Mother Nature doesn’t show up, we’ll have an excellent attendance again this year. If we have a pretty weekend, there’s no question that we’ll be able to achieve that goal,” she said.

While the economy may be down, Nelson said she thinks that will actually help the festival, which has free admission.

“I think the down economy is going to bring us a bigger crowd. People want to do something for free, and basically they can spend the whole day there and not spend anything,” she said.

There are five parking areas for the festival, which will be held at the Amphitheater. The parking areas are located at Ruffin Park, Helena Elementary School, Helena Baptist Church, Helena Presbyterian Church and the Lee Apartments. Shuttles will run between the parking lots and the festival.

For those wishing to sponsor one of the 2,000 ducks, the cost is $5 per duck. Different locations around Helena and Pelham have duck sponsorships for sale, including Bead Biz, The Depot Deli and Grill and Regions Bank in Helena, among others. Money raised from the duck sponsorships go to SafeHouse. Cash prizes will go to sponsors of first, second and third place ducks in the race.

There will also be a $5 breakfast Saturday morning at 7 a.m. to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The children’s fun zone, which will feature inflatables, will cost $5 for admission and will raise money for the Helena Kiwanis Club.

For more information on the festival, visit buckcreekfestival.com.

BAND LIST:

Friday, May 8:

6 p.m.: Cuttin’ Loose Band, classic rock and rhythm and blues covers

8 p.m.: Five-O, classic rock covers

Saturday, May 9:

10 a.m.: Unshackled, bluegrass gospel

11 a.m.: Roadsters, ’50s and ’60s covers

12:30 p.m.: Act of Congress, pop-bluegrass fusion

1:45 p.m.: Fat Man Squeeze, fast-picking bluegrass

4 p.m.: Razz-Ma-Tazz, rock, funk and R&B

5:30 p.m.: The M-80’s, ’80s power-pop and rock covers

7 p.m.: Dirt Road Lizards, country-rock

8:30 p.m.: Deputy Five, country