WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Clear skies and a low river current make for perfect Riverfest conditions, but festival organizers understand that in Kansas, perfect conditions aren’t always guaranteed. That’s why they’re prepared for an array of possibilities.
Some events at Riverfest depend on the quality of the Arkansas River, according to Mary Beth Jarvis, president and CEO of Wichita Festivals.
If the current of the river is too high, it can be dangerous for people-powered activities like canoes, paddle boats and kayaks. Power-crafts like jet skis and the Wagon Masters’ River Tour are strong enough to handle those higher currents.
Festival organizers keep a close eye on the Arkansas to ensure the safety of all festival goers.
“We work closely with the City of Wichita and the Health Department to make sure that we know what’s going on with our river during Riverfest,” Jarvis said. “This year’s theme is River Madness and with events on the river we want to make sure that everything is good to go.”
Each morning the team of checks the river flow at dam sites before making the call on what activities can and can’t go on that day.
The same goes for weather conditions, Jarvis said.
“Every year we go in with the plan for Mother Nature to be kind to us but (we have) some other plans in case she’s not and so every day about 10 a.m. we’ll make a call on that evening’s concerts,” she said. “Inside or out and whether we need to cancel any events.”
While many of the events at Riverfest are outdoors, there are plenty that are covered, including several indoor events like the WichiCon Comic-Con, the Craftapalooza and the Black Top Nationals Car Show.
This year they have also added a tent at the food court to provide both shade from the sun and some shelter from potential rains.