This year's Riverfest arts and crafts festival, presented by the Service League of Cherokee County, is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 27, in Boling Park in Canton.
The juried art show, which raises money to help Cherokee County children in need, includes 200 exhibitors, all-day entertainment, a children's area with inflatables, rides and games and a concessions food court.
New this year is a car show and performances by a magician on Saturday, a Cherokee County Historical Society photo exhibit all weekend and a raffle of an 8-by-10-foot children's playhouse.
Sherry Wallace of Free Home, chairwoman of this year's Riverfest, said the new attractions hopefully will increase turnout to the event.
"We wanted to go after different target groups than we have gone after before," she said about the new attractions. "It is exciting that this is a milestone, and we wanted to do some new things."
She said the interest in the children's playhouse already is intense. The league has sold 1,400 tickets for the raffle, which are $5 each or three for $10. Cipriani Custom Homes and Cherokee Floor Covering are participating in the construction, and league members are filling it with art supplies, games and toys.
Canton Mayor Gene Hobgood said the annual event is a boost for the whole city.
"It provides a great venue for attracting people to our community. It brings people all over the county and parts of the metro area," he said.
He said local restaurants and gas stations and other businesses are beneficiaries of all the people driving through the city to attend Riverfest.
"There is no doubt in my mind that it is very positive for the city," he said.
Pat Gold of Canton, the chairwoman of the first Riverfest, brought the idea to the service league two years before the first event.
"I had nightmares that we put all that work into it and nobody would show up," she said.
Her nightmares did not come to be, however. The first event brought out 10,000 people, and attendance now nears 20,000.
"We had no idea we would draw that many people," she said. "Our timing was good. We had beautiful weather, and that was something that Cherokee County and Canton did not have at the time."
She said the event has turned into what the league originally envisioned. There were slightly more than 100 vendors at the first event, a number she says has doubled since.
"I'm sure it is a source of pride for the Service League," she said.