What began as a one-day celebration with a couple thousand people attending, has turned into an annual event with over 300,000 in attendance. The community of Wichita embraces the Festival every year. Some make it a family tradition to watch the Capitol Federal Fireworks on closing night or cheer on their favorite antique bathtub as it races down the river. For nine days the Festival is the community’s destination for food, entertainment and a wide range of activities. While events have changed since 1970, the overall goal of a community celebration that includes something for everyone is achieved year after year.
Here are some photographs from earlier Wichita River Festivals.
The 2006 Wichita River Festival launched with some of the nicest weather we’ve had in quite a while. The food court is open giving festival goers a chance to sample a wide variety of entre’s and there is musical entertainment just about anywhere you go.
Several new vendors and menu options will be available for Festival attendees to choose from. Beijing Bistro will offer a variety of Asian cuisine including egg roll, lettuce wraps, Teriyaki Chicken stick and fried rice. Griffin Tenderloins will feature a giant tenderloin sandwich. Made 2 Grill Bratwurst and the Johnsonville Big Taste Grill will offer bratwursts, hamburgers and berry kabobs. Tad’s Cajun Chicken and Shrimp will feature fried chicken and shrimp on a stick.
You’ll find just about every kind of music at the Wichita River Festival… from toe tapping blues, rock, gospel, to full orchestra extravaganzas.
Pick your time, choose a venue, kick back and enjoy.
You’re sure to enjoy the multi-cultural offerings as there is a little for everyone.
RIVER FESTIVAL AT COWTOWN
Always a favorite of mine is just about anything that happens at the Old Cowtown Museum, a recreation of a 1865-1880 Kansas cattle town. Wooden sidewalks, dusty streets and store-front facades are just a few of the old West attractions
is this historic 17 acre open air living history museum with 35 exhibit areas depicting life in Wichita and Sedgwick County during the period 1865 to 1880.
There was plenty of hands on activities, historic home tours, covered wagon rides, and talented musicians performing music reminiscent of a simpler time.
INDIAN CELEBRATION AND RENDEZVOUS
The Mid-America All Indian Center is dedicated to the preservation of Native American heritage, culture and traditions.
There were a few demonstrations but mostly vendors lined the path selling their wares.
Native American dancers performed inside the Mid America All-Indian Center while outdoors visitors could walk through the Buckskinner village and Tipi Encampment.
Some of the craziest racing machines lined up on Main Street for the Bedlam 500 bed races. This was the first year I’ve attended this event and was a bit disappointed in the low number of contestants and the resulting brevity of the event.
ANTIQUE BATHTUB RACE
Crowds were lighter than usual at the Antique Bathtub Races despite the beautiful weather and wide variety of interesting bathtubs. Actually, the light crowds made it very easy to find a good spot to view the activities.