KMC Crusade

Riverfest Ignites Nostalgia

Designed+by+Joe+Worley%2C+the+2018+poster+is+a+symbol+of+this+year%27s+theme+for+the+summer+festival.+Worley+is+a+Wichita-based+artist+and+is+active+in+the+community.+photo+courtesy+of+wichitariverfest.com
Designed by Joe Worley, the 2018 poster is a symbol of this year's theme for the summer festival. Worley is a Wichita-based artist and is active in the community. photo courtesy of wichitariverfest.com

Designed by Joe Worley, the 2018 poster is a symbol of this year's theme for the summer festival. Worley is a Wichita-based artist and is active in the community. photo courtesy of wichitariverfest.com

Designed by Joe Worley, the 2018 poster is a symbol of this year's theme for the summer festival. Worley is a Wichita-based artist and is active in the community. photo courtesy of wichitariverfest.com

Isaac Caire, Staff Writer

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The Riverfest has become a major part of Wichita culture and pride. Starting in 1970, it has grown and changed since its inception.

The Riverfest began as a way to bring the community together, to build city pride, and focus on Wichita’s beautiful Arkansas River. Later in 1971, board members of the Wichita Festival, Inc. organized the Wichitennial River Festival and Traders Day to take place on May 27, 1972. Board members wanted to make the event affordable for everyone and charged $1 for a button. Events during the festival included a bathtub race, canoe races, a carnival and the Moonlight River Parade.

In 1974, the festival expanded to 10 days and, events like the Sundown Parade, the Twilight Pops Concert, and the fireworks all became part of the festival. Also, the Wichita Wagonmasters was established and the Wichita Eagle began to publish daily clues for the Windwagon Medallion Hunt, which is now one of the many staples of the event.

By 1979, the festival grew and was officially named the Wichita River Festival. Button sales increased from 55,000 buttons in 1982 to more than 200,000 in 1988. In 1990, the button price was raised to $2.

As a child, I always loved when May would roll around. School was getting out for summer vacation, the weather was great and the Riverfest was almost here. I always get nostalgic thinking of when my family went to the Riverfest, bought food from street vendors, and just simply had a good time. My favorite ride as a child was the bungee trampoline, and I always got corn dog.

This year I am really looking forward to going to the Riverfest. The festival will kick off on Friday, June 1 and end on Saturday, June 9 with the Capitol Federal Firework Show.

My favorite thing to do is to eat at the food court. My favorites are the chicken on a stick, corn dogs, burritos and the roasted corn. If I have room for dessert, I always get a funnel cake.

On Wednesday, I want to go to the Hiland Dairy Ice Cream Social. Through the whole Riverfest there is also a photography competition that I am most excited about. There is also a new escape challenge game called The Crate Escape that I want to do.

The Riverfest has become a huge part of celebrating Wichita culture. For more about the Riverfest, visit wichitariverfest.com.

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