River Festival

Concerts, neon, sand and fireworks to cap off Riverfest

“We got the beat!” the River Festival is exclaiming as it heads into its final two days with a blow-out: the Go-Go’s playing a beach party (remember the tug-of-war? It’s back), a shot at a world record for the most people wearing sunglasses at night, a concert by Big Head Todd and the Monsters, a neon party with complimentary glow sticks, and the final fireworks to cap it all off.

And those are just the main events. Dig out your beach towel – or bring your lawn chair – to the two main venues Friday and Saturday: Kennedy Plaza in front of Century II and the WaterWalk. And definitely bring your sunglasses to wear Saturday night at Kennedy Plaza.

The weather forecast shows full-fledged summer holding off until the festival is over, but there is a small chance of rain Saturday and Saturday night. There will be a contingency location for the Go-Go’s and Big Head concerts: Century II Concert Hall. The decision will be made Saturday morning whether the Go-Go’s concert moves inside, said Teri Mott of Wichita Festivals.

The Cardboard Regatta that had to be rescheduled because of heavy rain last weekend will be Saturday, launching at 2:30 p.m. under the Douglas Avenue Bridge. The first 12 teams to register at noon will get to compete. See more under “Beach Party” below.

Here’s your guide to getting the most out of the fun, in chronological order, by main event, including activities that are in the same vicinity. Admission to all these events is a Riverfest button.

Big Head Todd & the Monsters

6 to 9:45 p.m. Friday, Kennedy Plaza Stage in front of Century II

Big Head Todd & the Monsters will headline an indie rock concert that will start with opening acts at 6 p.m. Big Head Todd is to take the stage at 8:30 p.m.

Neon party

8 to 9:40 p.m. Friday, WaterWalk

The first 1,000 people will receive a free glow stick. People will be dancing to music mixed by DJ Carbon and a performance by hip-hopper XV. If you don’t get there in time to get a free glow stick, you can buy glowing products at the merchandise tent.

Beach Party

Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, Kennedy Plaza in front of Century II , where there will be at least a foot of sand covering the pavement. Here are the events, plus a few others in the vicinity:

• Limbo, sand-castle building and hula dancers plugged in throughout the day

• The Riverfest Marketplace inside Century II (Exhibition Hall), featuring more than 70 local artisans selling their Etsy-type creations, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Friday, too, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.)

• Tug-of-war: 2 to 3:30 p.m.

• Cardboard Regatta, 2:30 p.m. under the Douglas Avenue Bridge. Teams will receive the same supplies – cardboard, a box cutter, duct tape and floaty noodles – to build a device that will float at least one person. The team that stays afloat the longest wins. Registration is on-site for the first 12 teams, starting at noon. Construction begins at 1 p.m. Launch is at 2:30 p.m.

• Sunshine the Bunny concert, 4 to 4:30 p.m.

• Jenny Wood Band concert, 5 to 6:15 p.m.

• Funnel-cake-eating contest, 6 p.m. on the Food Court Stage

• Me Like Bees concert, 6:45 to 7:45 p.m.

• Go-Go’s concert: 8:15 to 9:45 p.m.

• The attempt to break the world record for number of people wearing sunglasses at night, either during the Go-Go’s encore, or immediately afterward, just before the fireworks:


10 p.m. Saturday, Arkansas River downtown

The best viewing for the fireworks will be along the riverbank between Lewis and First streets.