BIDDEFORD — Clear skies and summery temperatures made for fine outdoor listening over the weekend for River Jam, a new music festival in downtown Biddeford.

While the venue began Friday night and wound down Sunday, Saturday afternoon featured events for kids, as well as tunes, to draw families in. The crowd was somewhat sparse at mid-afternoon, but that was expected to change by Saturday evening.

Those who attended seemed to be enjoying themselves.

“The city’s always done fun stuff like this,” said Kelly Osborne, who brought her daughter, 3-year-old Alaya McCulliugh, to the event. Recalling the Chalk on the Walk festival of past years, she admired the new version, called “Chalk While You Rock.”

Jazmine Stammel of Biddeford was busy working on the pavement with chalk, drawing a theme for Amy & the Engine, a Boston-based band that just released a new album.

“It’s a really good idea,” said Stammel of River Jam.

Some of the kids thought so, too. Natalie Grover, 5, of Saco, kept busy with a chalk drawing, while a bevy of young people screamed with delight as they took in the bouncy house and others took pony rides.

The downtown revitalization organization Heart of Biddeford partnered with the Pepperell Mill Campus, the Oak + the Ax, Engine, University of New England and City Theater to host River Jam. The new event was geared to attract more people to Biddeford and its downtown, said HOB Executive Director Delilah Poupore, especially young people ”“ 35 and under ”“ and their families.

“The bands are great,” said Biddeford City Councilor Bob Mills.

And, said Mills, so was the food ”“ he sampled burgers and fries from the food trucks, along with a mango smoothie.

He pointed out that Biddeford has a winter festival, La Kermesse in the summer, and now River Jam in the fall.

“This is fantastic for our community,” he said.

— Staff Writer Dina Mendros contributed to this report. Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]

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