River Festival

May 29, 2014

Get fit while having fun at Riverfest

Funnel cakes help define Riverfest, but this year it also will be a place to get fit, or at least to get all kinds of ideas for getting that way.

The fitWichita campaign will present weekday workouts at Riverfest. An earlier version of this story was incorrect.

Funnel cakes help define Riverfest, but this year it also will be a place to get fit, or at least to get all kinds of ideas for getting that way.

The festival is teaming up with the Health & Wellness Coalition, a nonprofit that promotes fitness and healthy eating, to bring the coalition’s Find Your Fit campaign to the south lawn of the Hyatt.

The fest also will have participatory classes such as yoga, Jazzercise and Zumba and demonstrations of ways to get fit, along with samples of healthy food and inspiration, said Ann Keefer of the festival.

“You’ll get a good workout just coming down and walking around,” Keefer said of the festival. “The problem is you’ll eat a funnel cake, and you’ll have to do another loop.” Or hit the Fit ’n’ Fun Zone on the Hyatt lawn (aka WaterWalk Pavilion).

Each weekday lunch hour of the festival, the fitWichita campaign will have back-to-back sessions that will show people that they can do a 30-minute workout during work, said Becky Tuttle of the Health & Wellness Coalition. It is recommended that people get 30 minutes of fitness five days a week, and a lunch half-hour of activity during the workweek can get it done, Tuttle said.

Festivalgoers can head downtown Monday at 11:45 a.m. or 12:15 p.m. to do a fun and easy obstacle course that will give them ideas of things they can also do at home, Tuttle said. On Tuesday, they can sample tai chi. Wednesday, they will walk from the fit zone to the Keeper of the Plains. On Thursday, a DJ will play music and try to get line dances going, but also just to get people up and dancing, “just to get you moving, and you can have fun,” Tuttle said.

A little healthy eating will be combined with the activity Friday, when Frisbees will be available to toss to others or to launch toward Hula Hoops and laundry baskets. Samples of grilled vegetables will be available. They’ll be seasoned with balsamic vinegar and herbs for a low-calorie treat, Tuttle said.

Apart from the lunch-hour opportunities, fitness demos of such things as poi balls (twirling balls on a string) and skateboarding will be taking place before the Hyatt lawn/WaterWalk Pavilion area becomes a concert venue in the evening.

“You may decide you want to pick up Hula Hooping while you’re sitting there watching a country concert,” Keefer said.

There also will be a few other opportunities to see healthy food being prepared.

The Riverfest is also encouraging bicycling to the festival again this year. The bike valet returns, this year in two locations, as do two biking tours of Douglas at 11 a.m. on the Saturdays of the festival. There also will be a world record attempt for longest moving line of bicycles.

The bike valet, sponsored by Bike Walk Wichita, is a place where you can leave your bike safe and secure while attending the fest. “It worked fantastic” in its first year, Barry Carroll of Bike Walk Wichita said. “We had one person who even bought a bike so they could ride to the festival.”

The valet will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday of the festival, at the WaterWalk Pavilion next to the Boathouse, and at Ackerman’s Backyard at A. Price Woodard Park.

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