WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The first weekend of Riverfest is in the books. This is the first time since 2019 that Wichita’s largest party is in full force. Tens of thousands flocked downtown to take in the sights and sounds around the Arkansas River.
Although it was a record weekend, traffic stayed close to the festival. Several businesses down toward Old Town told KSN it was a slow weekend, bringing in less revenue than the weekend before.
However, many in Delano noticed the rush.
“It is so wonderful to feel like 2019 again to see people in droves walking up and down Douglas,” said Jennifer Ray, owner of The Monarch.
Ray said her restaurant noticed the uptick in business, “Lots of new faces that we haven’t seen before. A lot of great customers! Really good energy down here in the area with people just excited to be able to go back to the festival.”
The Monarch was just one of Delano’s businesses benefiting from the crowds.
“There’s a lot of people coming from different states and different areas,” said Cody Couch, Delano Barbeque Company.
The first three days of Riverfest exceeded 2019 attendance records. Organizers hope to see that rush continue.
“I really believe if we have a beautiful day like [Monday], we will keep seeing increased crowds because we have great entertainment, lots of activities and I think now that the word is getting out that people are coming down, having a great time,” said Nancy Duling, President and CEO of Wichita Festivals.
Many Delano restaurants are ready for round two.
“We are staffed up. We are prepared to see extra crowds throughout the week. You know we will really be gearing up for next weekend again. That’s where our focus will be,” Ray said.
“So we are having to make sure that we got everything that we need,” said Cassandra Torres, Delano Barbeque Company. “We’ve had to double stock.”
Some retail shops in Delano did not see the same rush in businesses. However, some believe they may get new customers later on.