Popular Cajun Food Fest to return to River Festival

04/11/2013 1:14 PM

04/11/2013 4:33 PM

The Cajun Food Fest, a popular Wichita River Festival event that was absent last year, will return this year accompanied by a big-name band.

The food fest, which traditionally has featured jambalaya, red beans and rice and more, is scheduled for June 6 on Kennedy Plaza. Nationally known band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, which has performed at halftime of the Super Bowl and on ESPN’s ESPY Award Show, will perform.

The Cajun Food Fest had been a 26-year tradition at the River Festival. But in 2012, the festival reorganized the layout, putting the main food court on Douglas, just in front of Kennedy Plaza. Goodwill Industries, which put on the Cajun Food Fest as a fundraiser, was told the event would have to move.

Goodwill officials didn’t think that would work, so they decided to stage the food fest on their own separate from the River Festival. That never worked out.

The main food court is moving back to its longtime home on Century II drive this year, said Mary Beth Jarvis, the new president and CEO of the festival. Kennedy Plaza will be a main staging area, and the Cajun Food Fest will move back to its original home.

The Cajun Food Fest was one of the events people told Jarvis they wanted back, she said.

“One of the first things I did in the initial weeks of being here was read through comments made at public meetings and post Riverfest debriefings,” she said. “This was clearly an event we wanted to find a way to make happen again.”

The Wichita River Festival is scheduled for May 31 through June 8.

Festival buttons go on sale May 10 at local AAA, Dillons and QuikTrip stores. This year, the festival plans to sell 25,000 $3 children’s buttons in addition to the usual $5 adult buttons.

For more information, visit wichitariverfest.com.

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