After being canceled in 2020 and split in half this year, Riverfest part 2 is set for Thurs. Sept 30 Through Sun. Oct. 3 with some of the festival’s traditional events, concerts in Kennedy Plaza and the food court.  The Riverfest theme for 2021 is the “River Rocks Again,” and Wichitans are of all ages are anxiously anticipating the festival’s return

Wichitans can expect the return of the Sundown Parade, ice cream social, river tours, the fireworks display and more.

“We hope that after 20 months of people having to quarantine and socially distance that they’ll still come down, have a great time, and continue caring for each other as we party together,” said Teri Mott, communication director for Wichita Festivals.

$10 Riverfest adult admission buttons are still available at area QuikTrip locations, and children’s buttons, for kids 6-12, are $5 and are available at the festival gates only during the event. Kids five years old and younger get in free. Those who bought Riverfest 2020 buttons can use them for admission to the fall portion of the festival, which will be gated.

What’s new this year

The new outdoor Chainlink Gallery Place in downtown Wichita will host several new events this year. Chainlink is a fun, creative space where local artists can practice their craft and engage the community to pick up a brush.

Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, Chainlink will be hosting an “A City Where I Belong” event where participants are asked to imagine a single building, structure, etc., that would bring them comfort, connection, and contribution in Wichita.

Two local artists will also be hosting their painting events at Chainlink, Sheldon Draper, Friday, and Rob Lewis. Saturday, they will paint on the Ever-Changing Community wall and invite everyone to join them.

Another new event this year will be a pug lover’s paradise in A. Price Woodard Park. Sponsored by the Wichita Pug Rescue, donate $.50 to get a smooch at the Pug Kissing Booth or your fortune told by pug psychic, The Magnificent Zelda. This event will take place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Donations will benefit the Wichita Pug Rescue.

riverfest parade
riverfest parade

What’s not returning this year

A handful of events that traditionally attract many youngsters, including Kids Corner and Ottaway Carnival, will not occur. The Sundown Parade will be held as a “reverse” parade, with viewers driving through a line-up of the parade entries.

The annual gospel concert isn’t back this year. Plans are for Gospelfest return in 2022 along with the usual late spring and early summertime timetable for next year’s Riverfest.

Concert Series

The four-day event will include artists in music across all genres on the Acura stage at Kennedy Plaza outside of Century II; concerts this year also will happen at the Wave outdoor concert venue at 650 E. Second St. Admission to concerts at both Riverfest venues is included in the price of an adult or child admission button.

Presented by Spirit Aerosystems, the country folk group.Flatland Calvary will kick off the concert series at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Alternative musician Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness will headline the concert held at Wave on the 30th.

Big Boi, actor and half of Outkast, will be the biggest name to grace the Wichita stage next Friday in addition to performances by New Orleans-based funk and soul group Tank and the Bangas and local favorites Rudy Love, Jr. and Keo & Them.

Fitz and the Tantrums, Los Angeles neo-pop and indie-soul faves, will perform at Fidelity Bank on Sat., Oct. 2. Their famous song, “HandClap,” has been played on the radio and at sporting events all over the globe. Following the performances, the Capitol Federal Fireworks will end the night with a fireworks show.

All four days of the festival, the Quantum Credit Union Food Court Stage will be packed with local talent, including Sunday’s final music event and karaoke with Wichita-based national recording artist Enjoy Fountain at 1 p.m.

If you’d like to upgrade your experience, VIP viewing and access to a cash bar and restaurants will be available for $25.

Covid Guidelines

The following COVID-19 protocols have been established by WFI staff with the understanding that details can change at any time.

  • Unvaccinated attendees are asked to wear a mask at all Riverfest and other WFI events. 
  • We urge vaccinated attendees to wear a mask in crowded areas. 
  • For indoor events, masks are encouraged. 
  • Social distancing is strongly encouraged at both outdoor and indoor event venues. 
  • Hand sanitizers will be available at several locations across the festival grounds. 
  • Hands-free refilling stations for water bottles will be open and sanitized regularly. 
  • Ticket booths, counters, and tables will be routinely sanitized. 
  • The merchandise tent will have masks on hand and will accept cashless payment options.

Download the Wichita Riverfest Mobile App for Android or iPhone to see the most updated list of events.

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