Rivergate Festival: 20 years of Tunica fun
From an event that almost didn’t get off the ground in its first year to one that is highly anticipated throughout the North Delta, Rivergate Festival has a compelling story of invention and reinvention in its 20 year history.
In 1991, then Chamber director Brenda Van Cleave and former mayor Bobby Williams hatched a plan for downtown Tunica to host an annual barbecue and arts & crafts festival in the spring. The two picked the third weekend of the month, April 19-20, for the inaugural festival, with a carnival to start on Thursday, April 18. The Chamber conducted a contest to choose a logo, and eventually, three winners were picked: Page Van Cleave, whose logo graced festival caps. Virginia Kittle’s entry went on aprons, and Paulette Ellison’s, tee shirts.