Our River Festival


The Wichita River Festival has been our city's big event since 1970.  You buy a button, and that button gets you into concerts, races, the food court, whatever activities are being held that year.  Most of the events take place downtown, and along the Arkansas [in Kansas, you say Ar-KANSAS] River.  The Big and Little Arkansas converge in Wichita, the spot marked by the Keeper of the Plains sculpture, so it's a big deal in our city.  The River Festival changes a lot.  I've attended with my family, then with friends or my own little family, since 1984.  I hadn't been to RiverFest in a few years, though.  It used to take place in May, before school let out, but it moved to June a few years ago.  My favorite events either shuffled around or pulled out of the festival entirely.  My theatre schedule has kept me from visiting the festival in the past, too.


However, I failed to get cast in the one show I auditioned for, which led to a crisis of confidence and my failure to audition for anything else.  Suddenly, the whole summer opened up for me, and I decided to take advantage of it.  

I bought RiverFest buttons for the girls and myself for the first time in years.  First up, the opening night Sundown Parade!  


I promised the girls we would at least see the parade, because the 4th and 5th grade drumline from their school would be in it!

The mascot of the River Festival is Admiral Windwagon Smith, a prominent gentleman of the community announced before the festival begins.  Here is the admiral's float.


And WuShock, my alma mater's mascot!   Feat the wheat.


I become far too excited when I spy people in Star Wars costumes.  The girls preferred the kiddie stuff.



I had managed to grab us spots in front of the Kennedy Plaza Stage, where the Wichita Symphony Orchestra would be performing their annual pops concert.  The pops concert and fireworks show, which is always fabulous, used to take place the final Saturday of the festival, but it was one of the things that moved when the festival dates changed.  Unfortunately for me, the girls were tired and hot after watching the parade, and gave me a lot of grief over the idea of staying to hear the symphony and watch the fireworks show.  I gave up.  We didn't come back to the festival until the middle of the week, when we visited the kids' corner and rode the ferris wheel!





There was a zip line over the river!  Crazy!


 I did not try a jalepeno Twinkie, but I did admire this awesome food truck.


We're on a very tight budget right now, so we didn't partake in many food court offerings at all.  But I love the colorful signs and flags...


 In the end, the only treat we bought during the entire festival was a gelati from the Rita's Italian Ice stand.  Root beer Italian ice with vanilla frozen custard...  mmmmm...



We missed all the cool concerts - Joan Jett, Grandmaster Flash, etc. - but we did see Ballet Wichita's latest Ballet in the Park offering, Peter Pan!  The girls' dance teacher from school was in it, along with some girls they recognize from dance at the children's theatre.  They were harassed by a clown, which made my weekend.  I love clowns, but it's trendy to fear them now...


And that was how we spent our River Festival.  We may not have done much, but it was more than I've done at RiverFest in a good long while!



Follow along with Silver Shoes & Rabbit Holes on FacebookBloglovinInstagram, and/or Pinterest!



Comments

  1. Looks like an awesome festival. Kids love these type of events but my little girl is a bit too small to last more than one hour so I don't stay out too long. I wanted to go out to see some fireworks but I am afraid it will be so late that the kids would be asleep by that time and miss the whole thing. The ferris wheel looks great but I am afraid of heights so I would never set foot in one! LOL Great picture of you and the girls. They do seem to enjoy the ice cream very much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had to remind Big Sis not to rock the car, because Mommy doesn't like to swing around that high off the ground. :) My girls don't really like fireworks, because of my neighbor setting his house on fire with a bottle rocket several years ago. Sigh. :)

      Delete
  2. OMG what fun. And Whyatt from Super Why? My daughter LOVES him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, and Clifford, too! They were part of the local PBS station's group. I don't remember if I'd ever gone to the Sundown Parade before, so that was new for me. :)

      Delete
  3. What a fun event and happy happy faces! I love that food truck and omg the clown DOES look a bit creepy! (maybe I have that phobia you wrote about some months ago lol) Your festival is amazing, thanks for giving us a tour!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! I still like clowns. My girls, not so much. Isn't that food truck too cool???? Thanks!

      Delete
  4. Again, you take the best pictures! What fun! And I love that they had a dressed up Super Why. My daughter would have flipped for him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't get the Clifford photo uploaded, but he was there to represent the local PBS station, too. Thank you!

      Delete
  5. We were going to go see Joan Jett but the heat that day was making me really cranky. I thought Riverfest was kind of disappointing this year (and keeps getting more and more disappointing). There was supposed to be an airplane exhibit Sunday and the brochure said it was until 9pm but when we got there at 2, everyone was already packing up! I think there are some administrative issues that need to be worked out. We went to see The Romantics but that was really it. I think unless there's a really cool concert next year that we absolutely can't miss, we'll be giving Riverfest a pass.

    OK what is UP with pronunciation in this town? My dad's family is from Arkansas and it makes me cringe every time I hear people here pronounce Ar-Kansas. How about El Doraaaaado? Or Green-wich? My brain is always yelling, "Grenich! It's pronounced Grenich!" :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just didn't have anyone to watch the girls, and I doubt their ears could have handled the music. I miss the old River Fest, with the goofy stuff like the bathtub and bed races, and the big downtown block party. A friend of mine was doing the marketing this year, so I really just wanted to support her, since I have all this weird free time right now.

      I know El Dorado and Salina and Greenwich are weird, but I think of the Arkansas River as "Our Kansas River." If you're in Kansas, that "Kansas" better get pronounced! (Now, let's ask Oklahoma about My-amma...")

      Delete

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome! I'm a shy blog commenter, too, but I do love to read what people have to say. All I ask is, please be kind, to me and to each other.

Popular Posts