Riverfest is on

06/01/2012 12:00 AM

08/08/2014 10:10 AM

With the Wichita River Festival now greeting June rather than competing with May events, there has been more time to eagerly anticipate its arrival this spring. As the fun starts today, let’s hope the rescheduling also allows more people the time to answer the call of the 41st-annual Riverfest and take advantage of its busy lineup.

It’s here for us to share – a homegrown, volunteer-driven party that takes over downtown and the riverfront for nine days of sloppy food, loud music, louder fireworks and good times.

Some of the favorites have been moved around, as Wichita Festivals Inc. tries to keep things fresh and convenient.

After 26 years, the loss of the Cajun Food Fest was a blow – though one that sponsor Goodwill Industries hopes to turn into a plus with its own free-standing event later this year.

Tonight’s Sundown Parade leads the way to the Koch Twilight Pops Concert with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra.

Saturday’s River Run has a new route and an apt new sponsor, the Kansas Health Foundation.

The Eagle’s Medallion Hunt kicked off Thursday. The Block Party is back by popular demand.

A new “SS Water Wagon” will get more people onto the river, while a second zipline allows more festivalgoers to fly over it.

What’s billed as the Westbank Musicfest will showcase Rick Springfield and Survivor at 4 p.m. Saturday and Kellie Pickler and David Nail at 4 p.m. Sunday (for an extra $15 admission charge each day).

If one fireworks show is great – and Riverfest’s always is – why not two? As they did last year, the bombs bursting in air will open the festival as well as close it.

There are more music acts, kids activities and sporting events than you can shake a chicken-on-a-stick at.

And there’s no storing any of it on the DVR or iPod and catching it later.

We must enjoy Riverfest and its distinctive charms while we can, or see the opportunity lost until next year.

Don’t forget to pay for the pleasure, either: Each $5 button sold will help assure Riverfest’s continued success.

For the editorial board, Rhonda Holman

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