There’s bad Wichita River Festival fashion: tube tops, short shorts and such.
Then there’s good Wichita River Festival fashion: bright orange Ollie T-shirts, supercool baseball jerseys and shirts that suggest Wichita is just as fun as London, Paris, New York and Milan.
This year’s Wichita River Festival merchandise includes a colorful mix of items for grownups and kids. Some of it is left over from last year, including a popular green T-shirt decorated on the back with a collage of words representing the festival’s best eats: fried pickles, funnel cakes, Pronto pups, etc.
But much of it is new, including a blue T-shirt featuring Ollie the octopus, this year’s mascot, on the back and a subtle River Festival logo on the front.
Another addition to this year’s merchandise tent is a bright orange T-shirt decorated only with Ollie’s smiling face – reminiscent of the Kool-Aid shirts from the 1970s. They initially were designed to be just for kids, but festival directors liked them so much they decided to order them in adult sizes, too.
JaLayne Wray, the accounting manager for the River Festival, is in charge of determining the merchandise lineup each year.
She’s excited about a shirt whose design she came up with after seeing something similar on the Internet. It’s purple and is printed on the front with the names of some of the world’s most wonderful cities: London, New York, Paris, Milan ... and Wichita.
“Wichita is just as hip as the rest of them, so why can’t we be listed on the shirt?” she said with a laugh.
Also new this year: a gray hoodie with a subtle River Festival logo and a V-neck baseball-style jersey in gray and blue that says “Riverfest: Wichita, KS.”
Adult T-shirts cost $16 to $18. The baseball jersey is $18, $20 for sizes 2X and larger. The hoodie is $30. And the kid-sized Ollie shirts are $12.
People also get excited each year to see what the new River Run T-shirts will look like. The adult shirt this year is sapphire blue and features the official logo: a tennis shoe formed out of water droplets. The Tot Trot T-shirt always features a design chosen as part of a contest among local elementary schools. This year, Seltzer Elementary second-grader Kimberly Sayaphet won the contest with her crayon drawing of kids running through a grassy field. Those shirts are available only to people who register for the races.
There’s other merchandise, too, including a picnic blanket with a vinyl backing, beach towels, bags and more.
The merchandise tent will be set up on Kennedy Plaza during the festival, which opens Friday and runs through June 8. Those who can’t wait to purchase the items can get them in the Wichita River Festival office, 1820 E. Douglas, through the end of the day Wednesday.
Visit wichitariverfest.com to see all the merchandise.