Riverfest opens with parade, fireworks

FILE - Preparations for the Wichita Riverfest were in full gear Thursday. (KSN Photo)

WICHITA, Kansas – Riverfest, Kansas’ largest community gathering, kicks off today.

Admission is open to all for a $5 or $3 admission button.

“The events of Riverfest are a generous gift to the community from our sponsors, partners and volunteers,” said Mary Beth Jarvis, president/CEO of Wichita Festivals, Inc. “Thanks to them, we get to fire up the concert stages, activate the river and an engaging festival zone, and roll out the red carpet for hundreds of thousands of attendees.”

Opening day highlights include the Sundown Parade, starting at 6:30. It’s followed by the Twilight Pops Concert featuring the 1812 Overture, and capped off with Fireworks of the Arkansas.

River Festival parade route (courtesy Wichita Festivals, Inc.)
River Festival parade route (courtesy Wichita Festivals, Inc.)

More than 100 festival events and attractions are outlined on wichitariverfest.com and are detailed on the new Riverfest Pointsmap, sponsored by Intrust Bank, which festivalgoers can access from their mobile devices.


  • Cox Kids Corner with kid-friendly rides, games, projects and activities
  • St. Francis Ferris Wheel, with proceeds benefitting St. Francis Community Services’ foster care programs
  • Full STEAM Ahead tent with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math projects for kids – organized by Make ICT and sponsored by Airbus, Machinists Union Local #839, National Institute for Aviation Research, Professional Engineering Consultants, and Wichita Public Schools – as well as Make Art in the Park, organized by the Wichita Center for the Arts.
  • Fit ‘n’ Fun Zone at WaterWalk Pavilion, with healthy-living activities from the Health and Wellness Coalition, as part of their ‘Find Your Fit Wichita’ efforts
  • Zipline ride, sponsored by Wester Energy, on the Arkansas River north of the Lewis St. bridge
  • Hope in the Valley Horse Rides at WaterWalk
  • Sensodyne Dental Health Spa at Waterwalk
  • Kansas Lottery – Get your Tickets and Win! at the Festival Food Court
  • Ackerman’s Backyard river events and daily concerts on the Star Lumber Floating Stage
  • Cricket Wireless charging station, in Ackerman’s Backyard
  • Paddle Boats and Kayaks, on the Arkansas River south of the Douglas Street Bridge
  • Wagonmasters River Tour, on the Arkansas River north of the Douglas Street Bridge
  • Bike valet services, organized by the Bike Walk Alliance-Wichita, with locations in Ackerman’s Backyard and WaterWalk Pavilion
  • Helicopter Rides from the West Bank of the Arkansas River, north of the Douglas St. bridge
  • The Eagle Medallion Hunt, with daily clues in the Wichita Eagle


  • Sundown Parade, 6:30 – 8 p.m., downtown on N. Main, W. Douglas and N. Waco
  • Hot Air Balloon Glow, 6 – 9 p.m., sponsored by Meineke
  • Koch Industries Twilight Pops Concert, 8:30 p.m. on Kennedy Plaza stage
  • Blues by the River featuring Moreland and Arbuckle, 8 p.m. on WaterWalk Pavilion stage
  • Capitol Federal Fireworks, 9:45 p.m.


  • Hot Air Balloons, sponsored by Meineke, launching at 5:30 a.m.
  • Kansas Health Foundation River Run, held at WaterWalk, also sponsored by Hall’s Culligan, ICS Autoworks, Machinists Union District 70 and Wichita Federal Credit Union:
  • GoRun 10k, 7 a.m.
  • YMCA 2-mile Family Walk, 8:30 a.m.
  • Meritrust 2-mile race, 8:30 a.m.
  • QuikTrip Awards Ceremonies following each race
  • The Alley Finish Line Party, 7:30 to 11 a.m.
  • The Admiral’s Pancake Breakfast, 8:30 a.m.
  • Meritrust Tot Trot, 10:45 a.m.
  • Men’s Softball Tournament, 9 a.m. at Southlakes Softball Complex, 5301 S. Meridian
  • Roll Up Your Sleeves for Riverfest, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Red Cross Donor Center, 707 N. Main
  • Jet Ski Racing, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on the Arkansas River
  • Toy Train Display by Wichita Toy Train Club and Museum, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at WaterWalk
  • Dodgeball tournament, 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. at WaterWalk, sponsored by Monster Energy Drink
  • I Bike Douglas tours, 11 a.m. – noon, organized by the Bike Walk Alliance – Wichita
  • Tennis Fun Day, sponsored by the Mo Connelly Brinker Tennis Foundation of Kansas, with the U.S. Tennis Association, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Ralph Wulz Riverside Tennis Center
  • Arkansas River Coalition Canoe Rides, 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. under the Douglas St. bridge
  • Celebrity Egg Toss, noon on Kennedy Plaza
  • Show Tune Showcase with Music Theatre of Wichita, sponsored by Colby B. Sandlian, at 1 and 4 p.m. in Century II Concert Hall
  • Guinness World Record Attempt: Longest Line of Bicycles, at 1 p.m. at WaterWalk Pavilion. Registration begins at noon.
  • Paddle Battle kayak race preliminaries at 4:30 p.m. on the river at the Douglas St. bridge
  • Coleman Country Concert with Jerrod Niemann on the Kennedy Plaza stage, with opening acts starting at 2:30 p.m. and headliner at 8:30 p.m.
  • WaterWalk Pavilion concert, featuring O’Phil and Carrie Nation & the Speakeasy, 3 – 10 p.m.
  • Hot Air Balloon glow, sponsored by Meineke, 6 – 9 p.m.


  • A Salute to Aviation, sponsored by the City of Wichita, Airbus, Beechcraft, Cessna, Learjet, Spirit Aerosystems, Machinists Union District 70, Machinists Union District 839, WATC’s National Center for Aviation Training, WSU’s National Institute for Aviation Research, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers #271, Kansas Aviation Museum, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Eby Construction, Dondlinger Construction, Foulston-Siefkin, iSi Environmental, Lee Aerospace, Murfin Drilling Company, and TECT Aerospace.
  • Remote Control Aircraft, Century II Exhibition Hall, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Planes on Main static displays, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Wichita Aviation on Display, in Century II Exhibition Hall, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Kansas Air National Guard simulator and activities, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Fly Like and Eagle B-52 simulator, brought to you by Kansas Aviation Museum, on Main and Douglas, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Aviation Pioneers (historic interpreters as famous aviators), 11:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • Rosie the Riveter Look-Alike Contest, 1-3 p.m. on Kennedy Plaza
  • Wing-Eating Contest, 2-3 p.m. at Food Court Stage
  • Paper Airplane Drop, 3 – 4 p.m. in Century II Exhibition Hall
  • Flyovers of Wichita-made aircraft, over the Arkansas River, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
  • Hot Air Balloons, sponsored by Meineke, launch at 6 p.m.
  • Ad Astra Concert featuring Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Kennedy Plaza Stage, openers beginning at 2 p.m., with headliner at 8:30 p.m.
  • Jet Ski Racing, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. on Arkansas River
  • Arkansas River Coalition Canoe Rides, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., under the Douglas St. bridge
  • Toy Trains, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., at WaterWalk, from Wichita Toy Train Club and Museum
  • Kansas Army National Guard rock-climbing wall and display, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Alefs Rumble on the River motorcycle ride-in, noon -5 p.m., meeting at Alefs Harley-Davidson at 1-135 and 53rd St. north
  • Classic Car Cruise-In with Blacktop Nationals, 1 – 5 p.m. at Main St. and Waterman
  • Cardboard Regatta, 1 – 3 p.m. on the Arkansas River, south of the Douglas St. bridge
  • Admiral’s Armada, 1 – 5 p.m. at the Wichita Sedgwick County Historical Museum
  • Botanica Butterfly Festival, 1 – 5 p.m. at Botanica, 701 N. Amidon
  • Wing Nuts Baseball, 1-5 p.m. at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium

The 43rd Riverfest takes place Friday through June 7 and offers a wide range of entertainment for all ages. Riverfest admission buttons are available – $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 6-12 – at Dillons, QuikTrip and AAA locations.

With the possibility of scattered storms, festival attendants are reminded that Century II has a storm shelter.

2014 Digital Riverfest Guide

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