Riverfest event organizers have backup plan in case severe weather hits

Riverfest 2017 (KSN File Photo)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita Riverfest kicks off Friday, but there’s a chance, storms may rain on the parade.

While nothing looks severe right now, event organizers say they do have a plan “B” in case the weather turns rough.

Starting Friday, hundreds of thousands will flock to downtown Wichita.

Whether it’s for the food, the music, or the sunshine by the water, this year is expected to be the best one yet.

But it’s severe weather season in Kansas, and the potential for storms to pop up is likely.

“If you’re looking at the weather and you’re not sure, you’ve got to know that we’ve made a plan that has your safety at heart,” explained Mary Beth Jarvis, President of Wichita Festivals.

Jarvis and her team works year-round on Wichita’s biggest party, and they’ve thought of just about everything including a backup plan.

“We make a call for the best safety of attendees, and then we start to move things indoors if that’s going to happen, or proceed with events if that’s the way to go,” said Jarvis.

KSN’s meteorologists are the go-to weather team for the 2017 Riverfest.

“The meteorologists at KSN have been really good about loaning their time and expertise so that we can make good decisions for safety,” stated Jarvis.

If lightning, hail and high winds pose a threat, the festival goers are encouraged to go inside Century II.

And if the storm produces tornadic activity, officials plan on sheltering people in the basement of the building.

“We have it set up right now where we have water down there available if they need some water. There’s a staging area where we can make announcements,” said John D’Angelo, Director of Arts and Cultural Services for Century II.

The Century II basement has held up to 8,000 people before during a storm and D’Angelo says there is potential for even more if need be.

“There’s area beyond this that we will make utilization depending on the size crowd so people are safe,” added D’Angelo.

In addition to water bottles, there will be portable restrooms along with a triage in case people need medical attention.


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