Security has improved over years of Riverfest

A Wichita Police officer walks through the crowds at Riverfest on Sunday, June 5, 2016 making sure everyone is having a good time while keeping an eye on safety. (Photo: KSN/Shardaa Gray)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Over the years, Wichita Riverfest has actually become safer, according to officials.

Through gating, requiring a button and intentional measures by security partners, families can expect and enjoy a safe 2017 Riverfest, according to festival President/CEO Mary Beth Jarvis.

“We really feel like we’re helping create an environment that everyone can feel comfortable in. Bring your kids down, bring your grandkids down, enjoy and you’re gonna feel safe and sound,” Jarvis said.

Four years ago, Riverfest made the move to gate the entire festival as well as requiring a Riverfest button ($10) to be at any of the events.

“However inexpensive a button may be, it’s made a real difference. So you were in the festival, on purpose, not just skulking about and we instantly cut more than 90 percent of the incidents,” Jarvis said.

Five arrests were made at last year’s Riverfest, including an underage runaway and possession of marijuana. Jarvis says most incidents happened around the perimeter of the festival, not inside.

Attendees may not bring pets, coolers, backpacks, outside food or drink (besides sealed bottled water), or weapons of any kind. New this year are lockers at the entrances that someone bringing an item from the “no list” can leave it safely there for a rental fee.

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