BELOIT - It's been 24 years since Friends of RiverFront began to beautify and animate the Rock River in Beloit.
Hundreds of locals traveled to Riverside Park to support the organization's mission and enjoy one of its staple events, Music at Harry's Place, on Friday night.
Gray skies, wind and a few raindrops couldn't keep the crowds away as The Jimmys took the stage for the first free concert of the season at Harry Moore Pavilion.
"We like to come to these concerts because we see a lot of people we know and the kids can run around and play," said Beloiter Randy Frost.
Granddaughter Brooklynn Frost, 10, said coming to Music at Harry's Place is something she looks forward to each week.
"It's nice to come sit here and talk and listen to the music," she said. "I've been doing this the last two summers at least."
Friends of RiverFront Executive Director Jennifer Kodl said many Stateline Area residents have similar feelings as the Frost family.
"Music at Harry's Place really is a tradition for people, and it's a great chance to enjoy the park," Kodl said. "It's always inspiring to see so many people come out."
Festivities for the season opener began at 6 p.m. with the arrival of food trucks selling everything from hot dogs to tacos and even pie. It didn't take long for lawn chairs to get set up and blankets to be spread.
Friends of RiverFront deemed the evening the organization's first-ever "Support the Cause" night, with raffles, a wine pull, plant sales and more taking place to bring in some extra funds.
"We never want to have to charge for these concerts because it would totally change the atmosphere - we're just hoping to raise a little bit of money for the reserves," Kodl said.
Volunteer Rose Wilson was more than happy to help out. Wilson is a member of the Bloomin' Bunch, a group of gardeners who meet from 9-11 a.m. every Tuesday.
"This organization is such a fun group of people and it's really nice to be here and have people say how much they appreciate the park," she said.
The Music at Harry's Place lineup will continue next week with Harlan Jefferson. Copper Box will be coming up on June 28; Rainbow Bridge Band on July 5; Rhythm Rockets on July 12; The Cartunes on July 19; Gary McAdams Band on July 26; Cash Box Kings on Aug. 9 and the Dave Potter Trio on Aug. 16.
In addition to Music at Harry's Place, Friends of RiverFront also will be hosting Dancing at Harry's Place dance lessons and Movie on the Big Lawn this summer.
For more information on the lineup, to make a donation or learn about volunteer opportunities, visit www.friendsofriverfront.com or 'Like' the organization's Facebook page.