Riverfest's best is yet to come

The Block Party, ice cream social and other popular events will fill the festival's final two days.

05/13/2010 12:00 AM

05/31/2012 9:10 AM

The Wichita River Festival can't really be almost over. Can it?

Didn't it all just begin? Parade? Fireworks? Funnel cakes?

Tragic but true — only two days of River Festival fun remain. But some of the best events the schedule has to offer are still to come.

The weather looks iffy, with early forecasts predicting a good chance of rain on Saturday, the big finale. But forecasts are unpredictable, so start making your plans now.

Following is a list of the can't-miss events scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

1. Grand Funk Railroad at the Block Party: Friday's Block Party, scheduled for 5 to 9 p.m. outside of Century II, will feature Grand Funk Railroad, the 1970s-era group known for the songs "We're An American Band" and "Some Kind of Wonderful." The group will perform on the Kennedy Plaza Stage, and the party also will include face painting, ice sculptures, games and other live music. Admission is a $5 River Festival button.

2. Hiland Dairy Ice Cream Social: One of the festival's most beloved events offers festivalgoers free and giant bowls of ice cream. The Wichita Wagonmasters serve it up, and all that ice cream eaters need to show is a festival button. The ice cream social is from 6 to 7:30 p.m. tonight on Douglas outside of Century II.

3. Riverfest Marketplace:

A new event, the Riverfest Marketplace, takes elements of the former flea market and moves them into a two-day, indoor event. The marketplace, scheduled for 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, will include more than 150 vendors set up in Century II's Expo Hall selling arts and crafts, jewelry, candles, yard art, salsas, purses, clothing items and more.

4. River fun: The Antique Bathtub Races are still history, but they've been replaced with two Saturday afternoon water events. Plunge, the team competition that turns the Arkansas into an obstacle course, returns for a second year, from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday. And from 6:30 to 8 p.m., the Wichita Water Ski Club will perform stunts, pyramids and more on the Arkansas between Douglas and Lewis.

5. Fireworks and pops: The festival closes Saturday night with the traditional Koch Twilight Pops Concert, starting at 8:30 at Kennedy Plaza and featuring the Wichita Symphony Orchestra. Take your radio and tune to BOB-FM (97.1 FM) for live simulcast of the concert and the fireworks finale, which begins at 9:45 p.m.

Five things to pack

1. Sunscreen or hat

2. Cash

3. Festival button

4. Clean-up wipes for kids

5. Blanket or lawn chairs for watching fireworks

Five things to leave at home

1. The dog

2. Coolers

3. Food and drink

4. Alcohol

5. Firearms

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