WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Call it a rules clarification. Or, call it the water rule.
But whatever you call it, there is a rule in place that does not allow you to bring reusable water bottles into the fenced-in areas of Wichita Riverfest.
“Our policy at the gate, we’ve got a list of some dos and don’ts that are driven to make sure that everybody who attends the festival can do so safely and with as much courtesy given our large crowds,” says Mary Beth Jarvis, President/CEO of Wichita Festivals Inc. “And part of that is we don’t allow for outside food and drink. Now, we make an exception to that for folks that need to bring in baby bottles or baby food or special medicinal items. And the other exception we make is if you come with a closed, sealed water bottle, still sealed from when you bought it. We’ll let that in the gate.”
Jarvis says it’s a safety issue.
“We can’t vouch for the origin of food or beverages brought into Riverfest,” says Jarvis.
Wichita residents are meeting the news with mixed reviews.
“I think, I guess I always just assumed that sort of thing was already (not allowed) since they already have so many food vendors,” says Wichita resident, Sarah Briley. “When I was little I think we brought a cooler to save a spot for the Pops concert.”
Other residents who bring their kids say it would be nice to be able to bring in their own items.
“That doesn’t surprise me at all but it would be nice to be able to bring your own drink in,” says John Schlitter of Wichita. “It would be nice to bring snacks for the kids.”
Jarvis says there are plenty of places inside official Riverfest areas to buy water or soda and food as well. But, Jarvis says, they have taken care of concerns over the heat, and hydration issues for the crowds. Jarvis says not everyone will want to buy water at Riverfest.
“You can take in a bottle of water, but it has to be one that is still sealed from where you bought it,” explains Jarvis. “Or if you’re really feeling the heat, Sedgwick County Care stations will be available both on Douglas and down by the Red Guard stage area (south of the Hyatt) and you can pop in and out of there, get out of the heat. They are air-conditioned.”
She says free water in cups will be available at the Sedgwick County Care stations.
And, if you bring something large to the festival and you don’t want to carry it around there are lockers that will be for rent at the main entrances to Riverfest.
Jarvis did not have the cost of the lockers immediately available, but said it would be a low-cost fee by the hour or for the day.
“If you show up with your car keys and cash or a debit card, you will sail through the entrance gates,” says Jarvis. “We’ve got 120 events and 19 are new. We have the traditions you love and new ways to engage. It’s going to be a great Riverfest.”