WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – After a year hiatus, it is time to start counting down the days! Wichita’s Riverfest is almost here, and while things may look different this year, festival organizers say they are excited to bring the tradition back, and with some new flavor.
“Normally, we would have that nine-day festival that takes place in late May or early June,” Teri Mott, Wichita Festivals Director of Marketing and Communication, said. “This year—for a couple of reasons—we’ve split it into two.”
Mott said Riverfest takes a long time to plan. Wichita Festivals worked the past year to see what the safest and most economically efficient way to have the festival this year would be.
The first part of the events will start on June 4. To participate in most of those events, attendees will need to pre-register. That includes one of the week’s most popular events–the RiverRun on June 5.
“That’s a race series that we’ve celebrated for more than 40 years. One of the first in the state of Kansas.” said Mott.
Something new this year is the Porch Parade, an interactive porch, window and yard decorating competition. The community will judge participating houses, so grab the family and hop in the car to see how others are going all out this year.
“The number one residential winner will win that $1,000 gift card to Star Lumber,” Mott said. “Then, Hiland Dairy is donating an ice cream social to the neighborhood that has the most entries.”
There will also be sunset yoga offered nightly from 8 to 8:30 p.m. down by the river.
For anyone looking to flex their artistic abilities—or lack thereof, the Plein Air painting competition will span the week. Participants can win cash prizes for painting the city’s beautiful skyline.
Registration for most events running from June 4 through 6 closes tomorrow at 11:59 p.m. at wichitariverfest.com.
With vaccinations and COVID-19 cases declining, Riverfest organizers are confident that people will be ready to come out and experience a more normal festival in the fall.
Concerts will make a comeback from Sept. 30 through Oct. 3. Those dates will also mark the return of the highly anticipated Sundown Parade, fireworks and food vendors that people love.
Mott said revenue for Wichita Festivals was down ninety percent last year but is grateful for the support of the community through donations. Organizers hope the structure of events this year will help them recover.
“We have to be really careful with the funds that we do spend,” Mott said. “A lot of folks think we are a part of a government entity. We are actually an independent 501(C) three non-profit organization. Right now, things are looking pretty good. Part of that is granting that’s been made available.”
The fall concert lineup will officially be released on June 23 through Riverfest’s official social media platforms. Buttons will still be required in the fall and will be on sale in September.