Jul 13, 2017 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff WriterThe biggest weekend of the Riverton Rendezvous gets started Friday with the 25th Annual Rocky Mountain Rebels Friday Night Cruise down North Federal Boulevard.
Rebels president Ty Becker anticipates about 200 vehicles will participate in the parade, which begins at 6 p.m. in the old Kmart parking lot, 1960 N. Federal Blvd., and processes south to Main Street. The vehicles will be parked on Main, and the downtown business district will be converted to a pedestrian mall for the rest of the evening.
Visitors are invited to admire the rigs on display all night downtown while also enjoying live bands and food vendors. Becker said a couple of bars are planning street dances as well.
"It's definitely going to be the place to be," he said.
Main Street is usually "packed" after the cruise, Becker said. He's spoken with local police who patrol the event, and they guessed 7,000-8,000 people regularly attend.
"It seems like everyone in town goes," he said.
The event features a burn-out contest and the unveiling of a "mystery car."
"Of course I can't tell you what it is," Becker said, "but every year we try to bring in something you don't see very often."
There's no set time for the unveiling, so Becker said attendees should keep their ears open for an announcement that it's about to take place.
The fun continues Saturday with a formal car show 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the south lawn at Central Wyoming College. Becker said auto cross races will take place Saturday in the Robert A. Peck Arts Center parking lot, too.
"It's (on) a track we design with traffic cones," he explained. "One car goes at a time, (and) you're basically trying to beat your best time.
"It's really cool to watch a car just hauling through a parking lot and getting crazy."
The Riverton Rendezvous Balloon Rally is Saturday, too, beginning at 6 a.m. at the CWC launch field. Twenty balloons are involved this year, including two with special shapes. John Ware of Salt Lake City will be flying the owl-shaped "Whoo'z up?" while Rich Lawhorn of Louisville, Kentucky, will man the egg-shaped "Humpty" balloon.
Local Kiwanians will host a family pancake breakfast beginning at 6 a.m. Saturday, and tethered balloon rides will be offered beginning at 7 a.m. The Rugrat Carnival takes place 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and a balloon glow is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. followed by fireworks at 10 p.m. from Airport Hill.
The whole thing starts again at 6 a.m. Sunday, minus the balloon glow and fireworks.
This year's celebrity balloon speaker is Michael Gianetti, owner and operator of Life Cycle Balloon Adventures in Longmont, Colorado. He will speak about his ballooning experiences at 5 p.m. Friday at Sundowner Station, 1616 N. Federal Blvd.
According to Rendezvous organizers, Gianetti got interested in hot air balloons in 1986, when he saw one for the first time and decided to join the Life Cycle crew. He bought his first balloon in 1991, and by the next year he had earned his private pilot's certificate. He got his commercial certificate in February 1993 and became chief pilot for Life Cycle one year later.
In 1998 he took over business operations there.
Gianetti is also a balloon pilot instructor and has logged more than 2,500 hours in the air over Colorado, Arizona and Wyoming.
Riverton's isn't the only balloon festival he attends, either: Gianetti regularly visits the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico as an official ride pilot, and he has competed in the National Hot Air Balloon Championships in Columbia, Missouri.
He also was an event official at an international balloon competition in Saga, Japan, and has flown The Fiesta del Globos in Leon, Mexico.
Also on Saturday, visitors and residents are invited to enjoy activities and tours 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Heritage Center Museum, 1075 S. Federal Blvd.
Next week the Rendezvous will continue with the Rails to Trails Eighth Annual Music on the River Walk 6-9 p.m. July 21.
The series of events concludes with the Fifth Annual Rotary Derby to Era"duck"ate Polio during the Day in the Park/Eclipse Event Aug. 19-20 at City Park.
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