Riverfest 2013

Re-energizing old traditions

WRITTEN BY MEREDITH OLNEY

River Run race

River Run race

The Wichita Riverfest has been the premiere celebration of the city and its citizens for over 40 years. It is an annual tradition that Mary Beth Jarvis, the President and CEO of Wichita Festivals, Inc., is extremely passionate about. “I love the idea of creating events that are designed to bring the whole community together. People from east Wichita and west Wichita alike, everyone is a citizen of Riverfest.” As her first year as President comes to a head with the organizations most widely anticipated event, Mary Beth says the experience so far has been a wonderful one. “I’ve been humbled by the number of people that are so invested. The volunteers, the Board of Directors, everyone has been 100% behind the work we’ve put into taking honored traditions and re-energizing them.”

For Riverfest 2013, Wichita Festivals, Inc. has worked hard to both breathe new life into old Riverfest favorites as well as introduce new events and programs. One such program is the “Cessna Celebrations for a Cause”; an event where individuals or companies can purchase admission buttons and donate them to organizations around the city, like the Wichita Children’s Home. “Our goal is to have 6,000 buttons donated so that everyone, even those who might not normally be able to attend Riverfest can.” This is also the first year that a children’s admission button will be available, only $3 for kids ages 6 through 12.

Other events included in this year’s lineup range all the way from an all day Zumba marathon and a Neon Night party to a Twist Off dance competition and a Cajun Food Festival. Wednesday night will see the return of the Block Party at the Waterwalk, and there will even be a beach party. There will be 300 tons of sand, a sandcastle building competition and a beach volleyball tournament, all right at the center of Kennedy Plaza.

Another new event this year is “Celebrate Abilities”, an event designed to commemorate those in our community with incredible abilities. “It isn’t enough to simply make Riverfest accessible to everyone; we want to celebrate everyone as well. There will be a street tennis exhibition by the WSU wheelchair tennis team, simulations with guide dogs, a seeing impaired martial arts exhibition and wonderful entertainment.”

Capitol Federal Fireworks

Capitol Federal Fireworks

Of course, there will be all of your favorite Riverfest classics as well. The Sundown Parade, the Capitol Federal Fireworks, the River Run races, the Rockin’ on the River concert and of course the funnel cakes and turkey legs we crave all year long! There will also be a “Throwback” day on Sunday, June 2nd where any Riverfest button from any year will get you into the day’s throwback events, including the Twist Off competition. “We brought back old traditions and created adaptations of old Riverfest favorites that went away for one reason or another, like the Celebrity Egg Toss and the Cardboard Regatta.”

Musical talent will be more than abundant this year; kicking things off with the Twilight Concert, Wichita native Chris Mann will sing alongside the Wichita Orchestra. Musical guests during the week will also include the premiere Beatles cover band, American English, country crooners Montgomery Gentry, swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and many more. On June 8th, to help celebrate the all day beach party and really make you feel prepared for summer vacation, the Riverfest brought in a band that really “has the beat”- The Go-Go’s!

Riverfest 2013 is aimed at creating events that will bring everyone together. “The goal this year is for the whole community to think of this as their party. We want there to be a sense of participation and pride.” If you haven’t gone to Riverfest in years or maybe you bring the kids but don’t participate yourself, or maybe you’ve never been at all- this is the year to come back. “From laid back entertainment, to big crowds, to food, to being active, there really is something for everyone.”

Throw your button on, be proud of it and head downtown for a week of celebrating Wichita.

For more information on the various events and times, button prices or how to donate buttons through “Celebrations for a Cause”, visit the website at wichitariverfest.com.

More info...

DATES | Sat., May 31st – Sat., June 8th
PHONE | 316.267.2817
E-MAIL | info@wichitafestivals.com
PRICING | adults: $5 & kids: $3

Runner Ups

 
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