A 2022 Guide to Favorite Wichita Riverfest Events


It has been three years since the Wichita River Festival was able to complete its full nine-day run.

But when it opens on Friday, many of the old favorites that were shortened or cut last year will return.

Here’s a guide to when and where the long-running festival’s favorite events will take place in 2022:

Fireworks: The festival will once again have opening and closing nightly fireworks which begin after the pop concert on Friday and at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday June 11. Best viewing will be along the Arkansas River from Maple and Waterman to First Street.

Parade at sunset: The parade, which last year was a static event that people walked past, will return to normal this year and run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday. The route heads south on Main starting at Second Street, then heads east on English then back north on Market to Second Street, where it ends.

Twilight Pops Concert: The Wichita Symphony Orchestra will perform ‘William Tell Overture’ and more from 8-9:30 p.m. Friday on the Kennedy Plaza Stage.

River course: The annual race takes place from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday. For complete race information and registration, runners should visit RiverRunWichita.com

Children’s corner: The event will include bouncy houses, games, arts and science projects and more and will be set up at A. Price Woodard Park from 5-10 p.m. Friday and Monday through June 9; and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and June 10-11. The inflatables will be set up near the Tripodal sculpture northwest of Century II and will be open at the same time as Kids’ Corner with the exception of Wednesdays, when they will be closed.

Carnival: The large carnival that was once held outside of Riverfest is now part of Riverfest and will return from 5-11 p.m. Friday, 1-11 p.m. Saturday-Sunday and June 10-11; and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Thursday. It will be in a lot at 511 S. Water and will include a Ferris wheel and more. Entrance to the carnival is free, but people will need to purchase ride tickets on site.

Hot air balloons: Weather permitting, balloons will shine and possibly fly from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday and 7-8 a.m. Saturday. They will be installed and launched in the 500 block of South Water.

Social Ice Cream: it’s back and scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday on Douglas Avenue across from the Century II. Fans can line up for free bowls of Hiland Dairy ice cream and toppings and watch an ice cream sandwich tasting contest.

Cajun Gastronomy Festival: This popular dining event returns from 5-8:30 p.m. Thursday at Century II Exhibition Hall and Kennedy Plaza. Dinner includes chicken, red bean and sausage pudding served over rice, as well as homemade bread pudding with bourbon cream sauce. Meals are $10 at the event.

Wagonmasters River Trips: The Wagonmasters will again offer pontoon boat cruises on the Arkansas River from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; noon to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to June 10; and from noon to 5:30 p.m. on June 11. Tours depart under the Douglas Avenue Bridge on the north side of Douglas, east of the Arkansas River, and are free with a Riverfest button.

Paddle boats: People can again take pedal boats on the Arkansas River from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. from Saturday to Sunday; 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to June 9; and from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. from June 10 to 11. Boats will depart from the Arkansas River Boats & Bikes facility at River Vista, 150 N. McLean.

Helicopter rides: For $40 per person, festival fans can fly over the festival in a helicopter. Helicopters will operate from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday; 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to June 9; 2-9 p.m. June 10; and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on June 11.

Riverfest Classic Car Show: Car enthusiasts can browse a huge collection of classic cars inside Century II Expo Hall from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on June 10 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 11.

Medallion Hunt: The hunt for the eagle medallion was launched on Thursday and a new clue will be offered daily until June 9 or whenever the medallion is found. A cash prize of $1,000 is up for grabs. For more details, visit kansas.com/riverfest

For more information and a full program: Visit www.wichitariverfest.com or download the Wichita Riverfest app

This story was originally published June 3, 2022 4:47 a.m.

Denise Neil has been covering restaurants and entertainment since 1997. Her Dining with Denise Facebook page is where diners can get local restaurant information. She is a regular judge at local cooking competitions and speaks to groups all over Wichita about the restaurant business.


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