With this year’s lineup of concerts and event, the staff and board of the Wichita Riverfest appear destined to delivery on their chosen theme “Party in ICT.’ Best yet, it is nine-days of fun for just the price of a $10 Riverfest button. If you’ve stayed away for a few years, it’s time to give the festival another try. The festival has spread out, and added more events and activities to appeal to individuals of all ages. Concerts are still a big nightly draw, but the Kid’s area adds affordable family fund and the addition of adult libations, and a dedicated adult entertainment area, makes the festival an attractive spot for a couple’s night out.
Pick up your festival button with a guide for a complete list of events and activities, but here are a few points of interest to help you plan your festival enjoyment.
Still a big draw, each night festival goers can enjoy fun on two stages. The Kennedy Plaza stage, along Douglas in front of Century II is still the stage for big name entertainers, but you’re sure to find some of your local favorites on the Red Guard Stage, located South of the Hyatt Hotel and just East of the Wichita Boathouse.
Some concerts to consider on the Kennedy Plaza Stage (just north Century II along Douglas:
Mon., June 6 Gospelfest
The evening begins with local entertainment at 5:30 p.m. including a community choir destined to get the crowd up and clapping. National recording artist Zacardi Cortez is on stage at 7:45 p.m. Cortez began his solo career in 2012 after touring with James Fortune’s FIYA where he sang lead on the group’s 2007 album, The Transformation and its Top 20 single, “The Blood.” Tasha Cobbs, originally set to headline Gospelfest pulled out this week and she’s being replaced by Kiera “KiKi” Sheard. Sheard, Gospel royalty, is the daughter of Karen Clark Sheard of the Clark Sisters. She was featured in the BET Reality Show about her family “The Sheards.” Sheard came out from under her family’s coattails in 2004 with the release of her first solo album. Her 2015 album “Graceland” went to #1 overall on Itunes and earned KiKi several Stellar nominations. She is scheduled to appear on stage at 8:45 p.m.
Wed., June 8 Naughty By Nature
1990’s Hip hop Trio Naughty by Nature will headline the Wet N Wild Dance Party. The Grammy Winning Trio broke on the scene in 1991 with their hit O.P.P. That song peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Other big hits for the group include Uptown Anthem from the Sountrac to the movie Juice and from their Grammy winning album Poverty’s Paradise, they spun hits Feel Me Flow and Hip Hop Hooray—hay, hoo, ha, hoo. Expect Naughty By Nature on stage at 9 p.m. D.J. Carbon warms up the crowd on stage beginning at 5:30 p.m. plus there will be plenty of other things going on that night at Riverfest.
Sat., June 11 The Roots
The Roots, a hip hop neo soul band, has learned a reputation as hip-hop’s first legitimate band. Besides being known as the house band for the NBC’s Tonight show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the band is known for its jazzy and eclectic approach to hip hop featuring live musical instruments. What a great choice to close out the festival.
On the Red Guard Stage (across the street — south and east — of the Hyatt):
Tues., June 7
Local R&B Legend Rudy Love and the Love Family will appear on the Red Guard Stage from 8L30 -9:30 p.m. Comedian Sinbad was originally scheduled to appear – as a musician not a comedian – with his dear friend Rudy. However his appearance has been cancelled. Sinbad, a former member of the United States Air Force, was given an opportunity to appear on a U.S.O. Tour, and opted for the opportunity to support our troops. Sadly, the USO Tour conflicted with his appearance at Riverfest. will appear on
Your Riverfest button gets you into all concerts and most events free for all nine days!
Children 6-12: $3
Children 5 and younger: FREE
Purchase Buttons @:
Purchase in person at:
* Wichita Area QuikTrip and Dillons locations
* Wichita Festivals, 444 E. William, Wichita
* Intrust Bank Arena box office, 500 E. Waterman, Wichita
* Select retail locations
* Purchase buttons at the festival gates or at retail locations.
This is the third year for the festival’s expanded Kid’s Zone. The family friendly area is located on the lawn, just south of the Hyatt Regency and includes its own food court area and enough activities to entertain kids for hour. Bring the family and enjoy games, art and science projects, clown, magicians. There are inflatables and kiddie rides, and you can build a Lego house or skyscraper or create a ‘welcome home’ quilt square for the family that will live in the new Habitat for Humanity House being built on the Riverfest grounds.
New this year is Fireshark an immersive gaming truck. Player are right in the middle of this action with the game projected all around them, on the walls and the floor. Players control the action with their hand-held tablet.
Another fun activity, horseback rides for the kids on Saturday and Sundays. Trained guides lead riders on a safe and fun ride. Open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The suggested donation is $5.
Enjoy the family-friendly fun: Monday-Thursday: 2-9:30 p.m.; Friday: 2-10:30 p.m.;
Saturday: 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Sunday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Check the Riverfest Guide for even more family friendly activities and events.
FUN ON AND OVER THE RIVER
Paddle Boats Get on board along the Arkansas River from the Cox Kids Corner just South of the Hyatt. Daily hours are 3 – 8:30 p.m. except Saturdays. Hours on Sat., June 4 are 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Sat., June 11 from Noon to 4 p.m.
Riverfest Zipline Zip high over the Arkansas River with each round trip ride costing $10. Enter on the East side of the river, at Ackerman’s Back Yard, that’s south of the Douglas Street Bridge. Hours are: Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday: Noon–8 p.m.; Monday-Thurs.: 5:30–8 p.m.
Wagonmasters River Tours Cruises depart from just south of the Douglas Street Bridge and rides are free with your Riverfest Button. Hours are: Monday-Friday: 4-8 p.m., Sat., and Sun., June 4 & 5, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Sat., June 11, 11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
In addition to the main food court just east of Century II, there’s a foodat:
Red Guard Stage – that across the street – just south and east – of the Hyatt. Special treats at this food court include Johnsonville Brats – Fri., June 3, 4-10 p.m. and Sat. June 4 and Sun., June 5 from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Also, from June 3-5 and June 8-11, festival goers can indulge in White Castle hamburgers. On weekdays, the burgers are available beginning at 4 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays beginning at 11 a.m.
Food Courts are also available along Douglas and in Ackerman’s Backyard, along the river near the east edge of Century II.
If you haven’t checked out Ackerman’s Ackerman’s, put it on your schedule this year. Great fun for adults, this are located along the river near the east edge of Century II, is a great place to enjoy food, drinks and entertainment. The food court in the area features smokehouse barbecue and each day the garden’s bar will feature a beer from one of Wichita’s local breweries.
This year, instead of live performers and in keeping with the festival’s “Party in ICT” theme, each night will feature a DJ Takeover spinning a different sound. Nights our readers might enjoy:
Fri., June 3 DJ Takeover — Disco/Soul/Funk Dance Party, 5-10:30 p.m.
Sat.., June 4 DJ Takeover: 90s Dance Party/EDM, 5-10:30 p.m.
Mon., June 6 DJ Takeover: Karaoke, 5 to 9:30 p.m.
Tues., June 7 DJ Takeover: Dance Party, 5 to 9:30 p.m.
Wed. June 8 DJ Takeover: Hip Hop, 5-7:30 p.m. and EDM, 8-10:30 p.m.
Fri., June 10 DJ Takeover: Reggae/Dub, 5-7:30 p.m. and EDM, 8-10:30 p.m.
Sat., June 11 DJ Takeover: 80s Dance Party, 5-10:30 p.m.
Sundown Parade, Fri., June 3, begins at 6:30 p.m. The parade begins at 3rd and Mail and takes a route that goes south to Douglas, then west to Waco and back north to 3rd.
Opening Night Fireworks, Fri., June 3, 10 p.m. Best viewing is along the Arkansas River from Lewis to 1st St. Choreographed to music, bring your radio and tune to 97.1 FM for the live simulcast.
Hiland Dairy Ice Cream Social, Wed June 8, 6:30-8 p.m. Douglas and Water. Enjoy a complimentary bowl of Hiland Dairy ice cream.
Goodwill Cajun Food Fest, Thur. June 9, 5-8:30 p.m., Kennedy PlazaGoodwill is ready to spice up Riverfest in its 30th year of Cajun Food Fest! Enjoy traditional Louisiana favorites including shrimp gumbo, chicken etouffee, red beans and sausage and more! Dessert is bread pudding topped with a bourbon custard sauce! Meal: $8, dessert: $3, both: $10. Proceeds will support Goodwill job training and education programs.
Closing Night Fireworks , Thrus., June 11 If you can only make one fireworks, this is the bigger one. Come out and enjoy this show along the Arkansas River begining at 10:30 p.m. Listen to the choreographed music on BOB FM, 97.1FM.
NEW THIS YEAR – BLACKTOP NATIONALS
The popular Blacktop Nationals car show is now a part of Riverfest from June 9-11. See the latest technology from Ford Motor Company, enjoy hands-on driving fun, browse and shop for vehicle-related products and services. Classic car collectors are invited to participate in Display Your Ride on June 10-11! Register at WichitaRiverfest.com. The festival will be in the parking lot south of the library and inside Century II Expo Hall. Hours are: Thur. 6-9 p.m. and Fri. & Sat., 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.