2013 marks the 32nd year for the Portfest "Rollin’ on the River" Festival, sponsored by Newport Area Chamber of Commerce. Portfest is held the first full weekend in June each year and is held on the banks of the White River at beautiful Jacksonport State Park. This year’s festival will be June 7-8, with the carnival opening on Wednesday, June 5.
Portfest welcomes approximately 12,000 people during the two-day event. Considering that Jackson County’s population is approximately 18,000 people and we’re located in the Delta, you can imagine the impact thousands of visitors provide for our area. Entertainers for the weekend include the John Conlee and the Bellamy Brothers on Friday, June 7 with Jo Dee Messina and Eddy Raven on Saturday, June 8.
The music, however, is only one part of what attracts families to our festival. With the purchase of an armband, most of the family attractions on Saturday are free without any additional cost. People throughout the region can let their children enjoy everything within the gates such as the petting zoo, huge children’s tent and inflatables without having to shell out a lot of hard earned cash. The goal of the festival is always to offer high-quality entertainment for families at a low cost. We’ve been affordable for over 30 years while our costs continue to soar. Public and private support has allowed us to continue meeting our goal.
Portfest has several other festival-related events beginning in May with a two-person golf tournament, 5K run and free kids fishing derby, and contests on Saturday at Portfest including the buddy bass fishing tournament and horseshoe pitching tournament.