The fourth week of each August, the California Riverfest greets students as they return to the local university.

“It’s move-in weekend for them, and we want their families to understand that we’re a community and we’re supportive of them,” Michelle Kinsey explained. “And we want them to support us. We want them to feel comfortable with their kids coming into our town, and leaving their babies here.”

Kinsey, volunteer with the California Borough Recreation Authority, was among the organizers of the eighth annual Riverfest, held Saturday and Sunday along Wood Street.

Opening day featured a firefighters parade, with departments participating from throughout the area. And new this year was a classic car show sponsored by the California Sunset Rotary Club, with related donations going toward upkeep of the Rotary Park Community Garden.

Along with providing a welcome for California University of Pennsylvania students, the event also serves as an end-of-the-summer celebration for youngsters who are returning to classes in California Area School District.

California Riverfest is a collaborative effort of several organizations, including the borough, university and first responders.

“It’s great that everybody comes together to have this festival, see their neighbors and perhaps see someone they hadn’t seen for 40 years,” Kinsey said.

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