By Mike LaBella
September 22, 2023
With live music, a classic car show, a Kids Zone, local foods, demonstrations and a spectacular fireworks display over the Merrimack River, it’s no surprise that Team Haverhill’s annual River Ruckus is one of the most popular festivals in the city.
Introduced in 2010, the event celebrates the mighty Merrimack River with and brings the community together for a day of fun activities in and around the Riverfront Cultural District and Washington Street. It all kicks off at noon with a classic car show on Washington Street, which will be closed to traffic from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
More than 100 cars will be on display, including antiques, classics, muscle cars, hot rods, specialty cars and their proud owners who are always eager to chat with the crowd.
HC Media’s Frank Novak will take his Point of Reference show on the road for the car show and will be discussing the cars, their histories and even some facts their owners might not know.
“If we see a 1964 Ford Falcon, we might visit a 1965 Ford Mustang and talk about why their dashboards are identical,” he said. “Car collectors and car lovers are a special breed and appreciate rolling fine art. From a Model T Ford to a Chevy Corvette and everything in between, the public will get to see cars they grew up with and maybe cars they wish they had owned or in some cases wish they had kept.”
Here is a schedule of events:
Noon to 1 p.m.: Haverhill High School crew exhibition. See members of the crew team show-off their skills live on on the water at Riverfront Park.
Noon: Haverhill High School Chorus kicks off the celebration with our nation’s anthem and three songs. “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Are the Champions,” and “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen, on the River Ruckus stage in Riverfront Park.
Noon to 3 p.m. Kids Zone, Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Traveling Touch Tank, Paint Me – free paint, bouncy house basketball, professional balloon artist, face painting, tie-dye shirts, Child ID services and more in Columbus Park.
Noon to 3 p.m.: Community Corner Connect, 43 Washington St., features nonprofit organizations such as Historic New England, Ruth’s House, Creative Haverhill, Beyond Walls, Cub Scouts Pack 63, MakeIt Haverhill, DCF Foster Care and The Sons of Italy. The Community Corner also features demonstrations and performances.
Martial Arts demonstration by Ocasio’s True Martial Arts at 12:30 p.m.; Cheerleading demonstration by YNS Elite Cheer at 1:15 p.m.; Gymnastics demonstration by YNS Phoenix Gymnastics at 1:45 p.m., and The Pinewoods Morris Men, traditional Morris English dance troupe at 2:15 p.m.
Noon to 8 p.m.: Beer & Wine Garden Paulaner Oktoberfest and a Taste of Haverhill food for sale by local restaurants and vendors, all in Riverfront Park.
2 p.m.: Talk on The Great Haverhill Fire of 1882 at 2 Washington St. at 2 p.m., The Essex Street Gateway Mural Art Talk at 25 Essex St. at 2:30 p.m., and Haverhill’s Queen Anne Style Architecture History Talk in Washington Square at 3 p.m. Talks last about 30 minutes each.
12:30 to 8 p.m.: Live music brought to you by 92.5 The River on the stage.
8 to 8:30 p.m.: Spectacular Fireworks display over the Merrimack River.