WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Friday marks the first day of Riverfest, and Mother Nature has purchased her button. Event organizers are asking Riverfest attendees to be weather aware this year as storms roll into the area.
At 4:45 p.m., Wichita Festivals, Inc. announced that Friday’s parade and concert are proceeding as planned.
“Weather Update! Today’s Parade and Shaggy are a GO and ON TIME! Download our app for the latest schedule updates and check our website,” said the Facebook announcement.
Last year, Riverfest brought in roughly 330,000 people. Organizers say they anticipate a similar turnout this year.
They’re aware there is a chance for rain and storms on certain days, a problem which made for some delays while prepping for the event.
Former Riverfest Admiral Windwagon Smith Linda Davidson oversees the Wichita Riverfest Food and Beverage Committee. She says that despite the rain, the festival’s 18 food vendors, which include several new options this year, are ready.
“It’s the calm before the storm, but you know, this is what we live for,” she said. “It takes us about 16-20 hours to get all the production elements loaded in.”
Jeremy Wann, vice president of Sure Sound and Lighting, has been in charge of setting up the entire mainstage for the past few years. He says that with the potential for storms, his team is prepared to move the main stage indoors, a challenge considering they won’t be alone.
“Normally, we would use the indoor facilities at Century II,” he said. “With ‘Hamilton‘ going on, some of that stuff has changed a little bit.”
Organizers say a contingency plan is in place to help prevent potential weather delays.
“We do a weather check every day at 10 a.m.,” said Jen Remsberg, director of Marketing and Communications with Wichita Festivals Inc.
“We’ll make the call before we even get the bands on sight to whether we’re going to move inside so that we’re ready for them when they arrive, and we can keep on schedule for the whole day,” Wann said.
Riverfest runs from June 2 through June 10.