There was a time, longtime Wichitans will remember, when going downtown to Riverfest was an out-of-the-ordinary big deal. Now, downtown enjoys a rebirth with continued revitalization, and Riverfest has become a celebration of the year-round pride we have in the city’s center.
Not that Riverfest doesn’t remain a great party. Nine days of food, music, art, fun and civic pride begin Friday with the Sundown Parade and Twilight Pops Concert coordinated with the first of two fireworks shows.
The festival, expected to attract more than 400,000 people, continues to build upon previous successes and tweaks to the traditional plan of weeklong fun. It has weathered change — such as the $10 adult entry button and an enclosed festival area. Though questioned at the time, both have proven necessary and worth the risk.
There’s plenty to do inside the fence. A diverse slate of music will occupy both Riverfest stages each night, and throwback R&B bands The Revolution and Morris Day & the Time will jam on the June 9 finale before fireworks.
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Riverfest needs to continually evolve and improve, and officials this year hope to accommodate overheated festival goers with 125-gallon water coolers that attendees can use to fill up their water bottles (bring them empty, please).
The Eagle is proud to be a continuing partner with Riverfest, sponsoring the annual Medallion Hunt that sends fortune-goers across the county in search of a round disk worth $1,000 to the finder. Clues began Thursday and will be published daily in The Eagle and on Kansas.com until it’s found.
Congratulations in advance to Wichita Festivals leaders, the thousands of volunteers, and the area businesses and organizations that continue to collaborate on making the city’s best party successful again and again.
Go out and hunt for a medallion, eat some fun food, enjoy music performances and do what is often most fun at Riverfest: people watch. Downtown is ready for its celebration.