River Festival

A drinker’s guide to Wichita Riverfest

VIDEO: 2016 Riverfest artwork revealed

Wichita River Festival organizers revealed the artwork chosen to adorn this year’s buttons and promotional materials – a Wichita flag-inspired piece created by local designer Chris Parks. January 29, 2016 (video by Denise Neil)
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Wichita River Festival organizers revealed the artwork chosen to adorn this year’s buttons and promotional materials – a Wichita flag-inspired piece created by local designer Chris Parks. January 29, 2016 (video by Denise Neil)

If you drink at Riverfest (is that redundant?), it’s best to know when and where to do it so you don’t wind up drawing unwanted attention from festival attendees wearing uniforms and badges.

This week, the Wichita City Council approved the locations and hours for the drinking areas at the annual festival, stretching from the grounds of Century II along the east bank of the Arkansas River to the WaterWalk.

But (possibly contrary to popular belief) you can’t drink everywhere all the time at the festival, which runs June 3-11.

Here’s how it breaks down:

Where drinking is allowed

You can drink in these locations from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on all festival days:

▪ East of Century II, a roughly triangular area bounded by South Century II Drive, Main and Douglas.

▪ A. Price Woodard Park, along the west bank of the Arkansas River between the Arkansas River and Waco.

▪ The river walkway, from Douglas south to the edge of the Lewis Street Bridge.

▪ Parts of the WaterWalk, including the grassy area by the fountains in front of the Hyatt Regency hotel, plus the parking lot and open space to the west of South Water Street.

Where drinking is allowed – sometimes

▪ The plaza north of Century II and Douglas from 3 to 11 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends. (Rule of thumb: If you can’t drive on Douglas, you can drink there.)

▪ Lewis Street Bridge from 3 to 11 p.m. on June 9 only, during the “Touch a Truck” event when the bridge is closed and large trucks are lined up for kids to play on. (Insider tip: Bring earplugs, because the kids love to set off the horns and sirens.)

Off-limits to drinking

▪ The area immediately adjacent to the downtown library

▪ The parking lot south of the library

▪ The grounds of the Boathouse

▪ The area around the dancing waters fountain

▪ The grounds of the Gander Mountain store and parking garage

▪ The Hyatt parking garage

Dion Lefler: 316-268-6527, @DionKansas

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