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MARY MEAUX — Festivals, which means fun, on the horizon for area

Two of the area’s major festivals — Port Neches RiverFest and Groves Pecan Festival — are returning after a pandemic-related hiatus.

Port Neches RiverFest is set to run from April 28 to May 2 at Port Neches Riverfront Park. The five-day festival features a Faith & Family Night, lots of musical entertainment; family events such as a carnival, horseshoe tournament, washer tournament, car show, treasure hunt and more.

And let’s not forget Thunder on the Neches powerboat races, which always draw a crowd.

The 2021 Groves Pecan Festival will be held Nov. 4-7 at Lion’s Park. Details of the event have not been released but in the past the event included a carnival, food vendors, musical entertainment and more.

The Mid- and South Jefferson County area has not sees a festival since last year’s Nederland Heritage Festival, held annually during Spring Break in March. County officials were on the verge of pulling the plug last year but waited until after the festival ended to begin COVID-19 protocol of not gathering in large numbers, etc.

I’m guessing with a year of no major outdoor events; no graduations, no citywide Fourth of July celebrations, no stadium-packed sporting events or parades, no large-scale Halloween/Trunk R Treat/Fall Fest festivities, locals will be busting at the seams and ready for some funnel cake and Ferris wheel.

We already have royalty with the Miss Port Neches Scholarship Pageant that include Miss Port Neches Graci Guilbeaux, Future Miss Port Neches Taylor Bui, Junior Miss Port Neches Mia Solis, Young Miss Port Neches Raina Kay Garcia and Petitie Miss Port Neches Harlin Tibbitts.

I’m quite sure these young ladies will follow suit of past royalty and be on hand to meet the public and represent the city during the festival.

Young ladies in Groves have a chance to take part in the Pecan Festival Queens Scholarship Pageant. Sign-up is currently underway through July 15.

In addition, Groves and Port Neches chambers of commerce are seeking their own Mother of the Year. Information on Port Neches’ event can be found on their chamber Facebook page, and information on Groves can be found on their website.

It seems now is a time to celebrate.

The state is now 100 percent open, people are getting vaccinated and hopefully, by now, we know how to wear a mask properly, wash our hands and social distance. Yes, some of that may be a bit difficult to do at times but with these being outdoor events with plenty of room to roam, it is feasible, just use some common sense.

Mary Meaux is a news reporter for Port Arthur Newsmedia. She can be reached at mary.meaux@panews.com.