RiverPark Center celebrates 30 years

·3 min read

Aug. 5—RiverPark Center will be celebrating its 30th birthday during the 12th and final week of the first season of "DownTown Live."

The event starts at 6 p.m. today, Aug. 5.

Rich Jorn, who took over as executive director of RiverPark Center in 2019, said he is "honored" to be part of the milestone celebration, but emphasizes that he is a small part of its continued success.

"My tenure is just a blip on the radar of all the good people that came before me; all the hard work and dedication and passion for the arts that's happened before me," he said. "I just want to honor them and make sure we don't forget them, we don't discredit them in any way. ...It's been a lot of hard work.

"Any community to even have a building like this is a testament to that community."

The facility opened in September 1992, and Jorn hopes to continue to offer what RiverPark has been known for over the years while looking for ways to keep moving forward.

"The plan is to do everything they did before and grow and add to it," he said. "Kind of push the pedal to the metal and expand what we offer; keeping up what we've always done for many years that people know and love the RiverPark Center for, but also adding things ... and grow so that everyone feels like RiverPark Center's part of their community (and) part of what they know and love."

For "DownTown Live," the center's 21-and-over entertainment series that debuted in May, Jorn said he and the staff have been overall pleased with how the first year fared in terms of growing attendance and the diversity of the themes and offerings — a goal Jorn has for all facets of the organization.

"I want the RiverPark Center to be a place for everyone," he said. "...I want everyone in the community — which is a diverse community — to say, 'Hey, there's something there in this season for me. There's something there that I want to go check out.' "

The birthday party will include free mechanical bull rides, along with its continuation of the Community Jukebox initiative on the Truist Plaza and Broadway Cabaret from 8:30-11 p.m. in the Jody Berry Theatre.

The GhostLight Lounge will also host karaoke from 9 p.m. to midnight.

The final featured act of the season will be the progressive rock five-piece group The Forgotten Tree. The band will perform from 7-9 p.m. in the Atmos Courtyard.

The band — consisting of guitarist Matthew Peck, bassist Chris Cart, vocalist Eric Harmon, drummer Logan Howard and keyboard player Rob Stinnett — is grateful to be playing at the final event of DownTown Live's season and be part of the RiverPark's legacy.

"(We're) super excited," Cart said.

Howard, who has been a part of the event twice before, performing with Nick Cheek & The Golden Hour and Whiskey Richard & the Shindiggers, said that he's had a positive experience with the new series.

"I think it's awesome; I think it's cool how the RiverPark has really changed the public's idea of the venue," he said. "I think it's been a really successful season and introducing people to what RiverPark can be."

The group is self-described as "Black Sabbath meets Tool."

"It's very heavy rock for the most part; some of it's really danceable, some of its really dark and brooding," Howard said. "Lots of time signatures, lots of riffage ...."

The band looks forward to entertaining the crowd and having them walk away excited and open-minded about the different talents in Owensboro.

"I hope they get pumped," Peck laughed. "I hope they get happy about it."

"I want them to associate the music that I play with having fun and having a good time," Stinnett said.

For more information and updates, visit riverparkcenter.com or facebook.com/RiverParkCenter.