Wichita Riverfest makes virtual return for 2020

KSN Digital Extra

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita officials announced Wednesday that the Wichita Riverfest will go on, only in virtual form. Riverfest, like many events, was canceled for public health concerns related to COVID-19.

2020 will be the first year festival-goers won’t gather in the courtyard of Century II, but festival organizers say they are trying to keep many of those traditions alive.

“Well, you know, there is just no replacement for funnel cakes and corndogs,” jokes Teri Mott, Wichita Festivals Marketing & Communication Director. “We know that our fans love their traditions, so we’ve tried to provide as many traditions as possible.”

Some of those continued traditions, for example, will be a modified version of the Sundown Parade.

“The sundown parade is one of our kickoffs for Riverfest. This year we can’t do it in person, of course, but instead, we are going to reimagine it as a shoebox parade,” Mott told KSN. “We’ve asked the public to submit their float using a shoebox. So they’ve created these small adorable floats. We’ve got more than 40.”

The shoe box floats have been added to a video where those online can view and vote for People’s Choice Friday evening.

And, last but not least, Admiral Windwagon Smith will be incorporated through online events like “Where’s Windgwagon,” a daily game asking players to identify his location and “Storytime with Admiral,” where he will read three of his favorite children’s books for the young ones.

Find more info at the Wichita Riverfest event homepage.


  • Riverfest Twilight Pops Concert at Home: Radio Kansas will broadcast a program by the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, including Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.” There will also be a memorial tribute to Wichita radio personality Don Hall, co-host of Twilight Pops. Preprogram video begins at 6:30 p.m. on Facebook, with the WSO broadcast starting at 7 p.m.
  • Sundown Parade Shoebox Challenge: Riverfest’s traditional kick-off parade reimagined as shoebox floats created by Riverfest fans and the Prairie Schooner Mates. The video parade is emceed by Greg “Hitman” Williams and Carla Ayala of POWER 93.5 and will be posted at 6 p.m. Fans can vote for their favorite float with a thumbs up in the gallery which will be posted on Facebook.
  • Meet Admiral Windwagon Smith XLVII & the 2020 Prairie Schooner Mates: The iconic intro that begins every headliner concert at Riverfest will be posted on May 29.
  • Where’s Windwagon?: a daily game where players identify the location of Admiral WWS.
  • Kids Corner Classic Performers: daily videos featuring a variety of favorite Kids Corner performers
  • Riverfest Poster Coloring Pages: Coloring pages of the past five Official Riverfest Posters will be published in the Wichita Eagle and available at WichitaRiverfest.com starting May 29.
  • Virtual POPcon 2020: Combination anime fest, comicon, and eSports event, with online gaming, cosplay showcases and an online community gathering, all presented by Unified eSports Association. Events will be listed daily on Facebook with a majority of activities on June 5-6.
  • Storytime with the Admiral: WWS reads three of his favorite children’s books for kids and kids-at-heart.
  • Riverfest BuzzFeed Quiz: daily BuzzFeed quizzes to test your Riverfest knowledge.
  • Bigfoot Brian Tours: Downtown Wichita hosts a series of tours hosted by their Sasquatch ambassador, Bigfoot Brian.
  • Quarantine Style: a beauty competition for those who don’t live with a stylist. Competitors must share photos of their shelter-at-home bad hair by June 1 at WichitaRiverfest.com.
  • Riverfest Virtual Car Show: Photos of more than 100 classic and custom cars, shared in two different galleries, posted at 11 a.m. Friday, June 5 and Saturday, June 6. Admiral’s Choice, Schoonies’ Choice and People’s Choice Awards will be announced on Saturday evening. Photos can be submitted through June 1 at WichitaRiverfest.com.
  • Musician Spotlight with Jedd Beaudoin: featuring KMUW’s Strange Currency host in conversation with Dustin Arbuckle, 6:30 p.m., Saturday, June 6.
  • The Hay-nations Live: Facebook live streaming concert featuring a roots rock supergroup combination of locally grown, nationally known bands Dustin Arbuckle & The Damnations and Haymakers. 7 p.m., Saturday, June 6.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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