2016 Riverfest: Concerts, Events and More
Wichita's annual Riverfest celebration has evolved quite a bit since beginning in 1970 as part of the city’s centennial celebration. Two years later, the then Wichitennial River Festival and Traders Day was observed on May 27, a single day! The Riverfest later expanded into a 10 day celebration occurring each year.
Now Riverfest is the biggest party in Wichita, bringing a variety of concerts, parades, food, car shows, fireworks, paddle boats, a zipline, helicopter rides and much, much more to ICT each summer. You'll find entertainment from dawn until dusk at the Wichita Riverfest, which runs from June 3 until June 11 this year. Check out a schedule of some of Riverfest’s biggest events below!
Events to Enjoy Every Day of the Festival
Here are a few events and activities for you to enjoy throughout the entirety of Riverfest.
For the eighth year, Riverfest will host its annual photography contest. Cash prizes will be awarded for first through third places in categories such as "That Screams Riverfest" "Rolling On the River" "Best Selfie and more." The submission deadline is July third, so if you forget to submit you photos during the fest, you can still send in your best! For full contest details and submission information, click here.
Habitat For Humanity
Guests are invited to watch volunteers as the build a three bedroom house from the ground up in just eight days. Work on the Habitat for Humanity house will take place from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily from Friday to Friday, and from 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 11. The build will take place south of the RedGuard Stage.
Ackerman’s Back Yard
Head to Ackerman's Back Yard for some great photo opportunities on the Admiral's giant chair, or in the photo cutouts! Guests can also play oversized outdoor games. Ackerman's Back Yard also highlights a daily kick back from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m., so guests can come out and enjoy local craft beer and music.
Take a zipline ride across Ackerman's Back Yard at Riverfest from noon to 8 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday, and from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday through Thursday. Round trip rides are $10 with a Riverfest button.
Taking off from the west bank of the river, Helicopter riders will available for $40 per person with a Riverfest button. Rides will be available between 4:30 and 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday.
Inflatables and Kiddie Rides
Bring the kids out for a fun-filled afternoon at the Cox Kids Corner. Inflatables and rides will be open from 2 p.m. until 9 p.m. on weekdays, and from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Saturdays and Sunday.
For more details on these events, or to view more daily Riverfest events, click here.
Daily Event Highlights
Admirals' Breakfast - 7:30 a.m.
Hosted by past Admirals Windwagon Smith, this year's Admirals' Breakfast will honor the 2016 Admiral, Steve Dillard. A fundraiser for Riverfest, this event kicks off the 8-day Riverfest celebration. Tickets are $15 or $130 for tables of 10.
Safelite AutoGlass Sundown Parade 6:30 p.m.
Everybody loves a good parade, and the Sundown Parade is one of Wichita's best. Enjoy floats, flags, bands and performers at this signature Riverfest event. The parade will take place in Wichita's Downtown.
Andy Frasco & The U.N. - 8:00 p.m.
Andy Frasco and the U.N. will perform on the RedGuard Stage at 8 p.m. come out and hear your favorite songs from the group for free with a Riverfest button.
Twilight Pops Concert featuring the Wichita Symphony Orchestra - 8:30 p.m.
The Wichita Symphony Orchestra will perform the long-awaited Twilight Pops Concert on June 3 at 8 p.m. listen for popular favorites on the Kennedy Plaza Stage, and enjoy a special finale performance!
Opening Night Fireworks 10 p.m.
As per tradition, a spectacular fireworks show will close out the first day of Riverfest. The sparks start at 10 p.m., so be sure to grab a great spot to watch!
For a full lust of June 3 events, click here.
Admirals' Pancake Feed - 8 a.m.
For just $8, guests at the Admirals' Pancake Feed can enjoy juice, sausage, and of course, pancakes! The pancake feed will run from 8 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., and will be located in the RedGuard Stage area.
Dodgeball - 11 a.m.
After you finish your pancake, you can watch some dodgeball! Teams of six will compete in a double-elimination style tournament to win. This event will also take place in the RedGuard Stage area and will take place from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Human Foosball Open Play - 11 a.m.
Fans of foosball will love this life-size take on the game, in which the people are the players! This event will be held in Ackerman's Backyard, and it's just as much fun to watch as it is to play! Running from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. on both June 4 and 5, this is the time to get your practice in for the official tournament, which will take place on June 11 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.!
Lucha Libre Wrestling - 3 p.m.
Lucha Libre Wresting will begin in the RedGuard Stage area at 3 p.m., and guests should expect to see some spectacular moves! Who will win? There's only one way to find out! This event will be followed by a Latin dance party beginning at 8 p.m.
Violent Femmes with Meat Puppets - 3:15 p.m.
T-95 Presents Saturday's music, featuring a lineup of Kill Vargas at 3:15 p.m., Divorce Corpse 4:45 p.m. and Radkey at 6:15 p.m., all leading up to the headliners, Meat Puppets at 7:45 p.m. and The Violent Femmes at 9:15 p.m. These concerts will take place on the Kennedy Plaza Stage.
More June 4 events available here.
Jet Ski Racing: IJSBA Mid-America Watercross Championships - 11 a.m.
Catch the Watercross Championships at Riverfest this year, as competitors from all over the country give it their all on the Arkansas River, the most difficult course of this year's series.
STEAM City 11 a.m.
At STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) City, children will be able to develop and pitch their very own business plans! This event will feature participation from several local organizations such as Spirit Aerosystems, Cargill, Friends University, Textron, WTC, WSU and more. The event runs until 4 p.m. and will take place on Main and William streets.
Cardboard Regatta (Launch) - 1:30 p.m. construction and 3 p.m. launch
Test your craftsmanship skills in this year's Cardboard Regatta! Competitors will have 90 minutes to construct the best boat, float, or vessel using limited resources. Awards will be given for best design, fastest time, and most spectacular sinking. Here's the catch: one member of each team, age 12 or older must ride in the vessel as it is launched into the Arkansas River! The event will take place at the Douglas Street Bridge.
Coleman Country Concert featuring A Thousand Horses w/ Brothers Osborne - 3:45 p.m.
Opening acts for this show begin at 3:45 p.m. with Adam Capps, followed by Haywired at 5:45 p.m. and Gary Mule Deer at 6:45 p.m. Brothers Osborne take the Stage at 7:30, followed by A Thousand Horses at 9:15. Head to the Kennedy Plaza Stage to catch these great concerts.
Riverfest Wing Eating Contest - 7 p.m.
From 7 p.m. until 8 p.m. on the Star Lumber Stage at Century II Food Court, catch the Riverfest Wing Eating Contest! Twelve participants will compete to win a variety of prizes, including cash!
To see a full list of June 5 events, click here.
Laser Tag - 2 p.m.
From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays, the classic game of tag take a high-tech approach in the Kennedy Plaza Tripodal Area. Come out during this time to test your laser tag skills!
Gospelfest featuring Kierra Sheard and Zacardi Cortez - 5:30 p.m.
This year, Gospelfest offers an impressive lineup, featuring performances by the Community Choir at 5:30 p.m., Zacardi Cortez at 7:45 p.m., Kierra "Kiki" Sheard at 8:45 p.m. Gospelfest will take place at the Kennedy Stage Plaza, so don't miss out!
Haymakers and Brave Combo - 5:30 p.m.
Guests can hear two performers at this show, as The Haymakers will perform on the RedGuard Stage at 5:30 p.m., followed by the headlining Brave Combo at 7:15 p.m.
Click here for more June 6 events.
School of Rock - 5:30 p.m.
Come out and support the students of Wichita's very own School of Rock as they perform on the RedGuard Stage. The show runs until 7:30 p.m.
Festival of Broadway 6:30 p.m.
The Festival of Broadway will highlight performances by Laughing Feet, Mosley Street Melodrama, Music Theatre Wichita and Roxy’s Downtown. Come out and show your appreciation for the arts at the Kennedy Plaza Stage.
Military Salute - 7:45 p.m.
In observance of U.S. Armed Forces Day, guests are invited to join in a time of reflection to honor the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces from 7:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
View more June 7 events here.
Wichita Children's Theatre presents the Three Little Pigs - 11 a.m.
Beat the heat with an indoor performance of the Three little Pigs by the Wichita Children’s Theatre. Showtimes are at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. On June 7 and 8 in the Mary Jane Teall Theatre.
Wet 'n Wild Dance Party Featuring Naughty By Nature - 5 p.m.
The Wet’n’Wild Dance Party on the Kennedy Plaza Stage kicks off at 5 p.m. with DJ Carbon and Friends, and Naughty By Nature takes the stage at 9 p.m.
Moreland and Arbuckle with Wild Adriatic 5:30 p.m.
On the RedGuard Stage, a performance by Jenny Wood with Katy Guillen and the Girls at 5:30 p.m. sets the scene for Wild Adriatic at 7:15 p.m. and Moreland and Arbuckle at 9 p.m.
Paddle Boat Races - 6 p.m.
From 6 p.m. until 7 p.m., teams of two will put their paddling to the test in the Riverfest paddleboat races! The event will be held in the Cox Kids' Corner, and prizes will be awarded to winners.
Hiland Dairy Ice Cream Social - 6:30 p.m.
Enjoy a Riverfest tradition, the Hiland Dairy Ice Cream Social, from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. The event will be held at Douglas and Water, and you won't want to miss it!
To see more Riverfest events for June 8, click here.
KAKEland Touch-A-Truck - 5 p.m.
This event allows children the opportunity to play in and climb on their favorite trucks, including big rigs and emergency vehicles! They'll even be able to meet a few of the personnel who protect and serve the Wichita area! The event runs from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Waterman Street.
Indie Showcase Featuring Reel Big Fish with The Suffers - 5 p.m.
This year's Indie Showcase opens at 5:30 p.m. with a performance by Big Red Horse, followed by The Suffers at 7:15 p.m. and Reel Big Fish at 9 p.m. The event will be held on the Kennedy Plaza Stage.
Blacktop Nationals - 6 p.m.
The Blacktop Nationals car show opens on June 9 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and will reopen on June 10 and 11. The event is held in the Century II Expo hall, and allows guests to see the latest Ford Motor Company Technology, and even offers a hands-on driving experience!
Check out more June 9 events here.
Human Bowling - 5 p.m.
You get to be the ball in this unique approach to bowling! This event is a lot of fun and is sure to bring a lot of laughter! Games are $3 per frame or $5 for two frames and will take place in Ackerman's Backyard.
Elle King - 5:30 p.m.
This year, Koch Industries presents Elle King at Riverfest on the Kennedy Plaza Stage! The show starts at 5:30 p.m. with OPHIL, followed by Fishbone at 7:15 p.m. and Elle King takes the stage at 9:15 p.m.
Sunset Stand-Up Paddleboard Tour - 7 p.m.
The Sunset Stand-Up Paddleboard Tour offers a unique view of the Keeper of the Plains from the water. The spectacular event takes place from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. in the Cox Kids' Corner.
To view more June 10 events, click here.
Arkansas River Coalition River Rides: Canoes & Kayaks - 12 p.m.
Take a ride in the Arkansas River in a Canoe or Kayak with the Arkansas River Coalition Rides. The rides will be available from noon until 5 p.m. in the Cox Kids' Corner.
Spirit AeroSystems Rocking on the River featuring The Roots - 2:30 p.m.
The concert begins at 2:30 p.m. with A Squared, followed by Roxy Roca at 4 p.m., Kawehi at 6 p.m., Todd Mundo at 7:30 p.m. and The Roots at 9 p.m. If you're ready to Rock on the River, head to the Kennedy Plaza Stage.
Recyclable Raft Race - 5 p.m.
Raft races are back this year, but there's a new twist! All Rafts must be built with recyclable materials. There will be three categories, and prizes will be awarded to winners! The event will take place at the Douglas Street Bridge.
Click here to learn for more June 11 events.