Set sail for Kansas’ largest party of the summer, Wichita Riverfest. June 2-10, experience nine days of music, food and events – all centered on the banks of the Arkansas River in downtown Wichita. Concerts, parades and even a beer garden await.
Visitors can expect all of the perennial Wichita Riverfest favorites along with a few new events and activities on the jam-packed schedule of music and arts performances, river activities, cultural experiences, festival food, kids activities and athletic competitions.
From the first celebration in 1970, the goal has always been to bring the community together, build community pride and focus on Wichita’s beautiful natural resource, the Arkansas River.
Besides being the state’s largest and longest-running community festival, Riverfest is one of the most affordable and family-friendly events in the Midwest. More than 100 activities are included in the cost of the admission button, including nine days of headlining performances.
Here is your guide to enjoying the 51st edition of Wichita Riverfest.
Get your button
Admission to every Riverfest concert and most activities are included in the price of your button. Early-bird button sales ended May 5 so current pricing is: $15 for adults, $5 for children, free for ages 5 years old and younger. Purchase buttons at any area QuikTrip. The Wichita Festivals office at 444 E. William also carries buttons. During the festival, look for button sales stations near entrance gates.
A few of the activities that have a separate fee include Cajun Food Fest ($15), Admirals’ Pancake Feed ($3-$5), helicopter rides ($50) and the team competitions such as the cardboard regatta ($20 per team).
Check out the concert schedule
One of the major draws of Riverfest is its lineup of nationally recognized musical acts such as the Gin Blossoms (pictured above). The cost of one button allows festival-goers access to nine days of concerts across a variety of genres. Shaggy is the headliner on the opening night of the festival and country music band Parmalee take the stage on the final Saturday of Riverfest. See our concert blog post for the full list of performers.
Sponsors and partners help keep the price affordable and the quality of the entertainers high for the event. All concerts are general admission – bring your own seating or blankets and find a great spot for your group at the Walser Auto Campus Kennedy Plaza Stage on the north side of Century II.
A limited number of VIP upgrades are available for some of the top performers coming this year. Starting at $30, the VIP area includes access to a cash bar and portable restrooms. Be sure to check out VIP ticket options.
Map out your activities
With well over 100 activities and events included in the button, Riverfest offers non-stop fun every day. We have a preview of events with dates and times on our Riverfest webpage.
Daily activities include a Kids Corner and inflatables, a carnival, the Riverfest Food Court and getting on the Arkansas River in paddleboats at Boats & Bikes, among others.
Featured events that happen on a specific date include the opening day Safelite Autoglass Sundown Parade and Textron Aviation Opening Night Fireworks, participatory events like the Cowboy Bathtub Races on the river and the River Run, a Classic Car Show inside Century II the final day and Capitol Federal Closing Night Fireworks.
Plan your meals
You can’t Riverfest without experiencing the state fair-type deliciousness served daily in the Quantum Credit Union Food Court. You can find classic fare as well as over-the-top options, and lots of sweet treats, too. Beverages range from water, soft drinks and fresh-squeezed lemonade to a broad selection of beers, wines and cocktails served at the Beer Garden plus mobile bars.
See a list of vendors, find menus and more information in our food court guide.
See what's new
Besides perennial favorites, the 2023 Riverfest will include several new events. This year, attendees can celebrate the 51st Riverfest with “Chicken Little” presented by Wichita Children’s Theatre, the Plein Air art competition where attendees can watch artists create in the outdoors and Downtown Get Down where the whole community celebrates Wichita together. Also new in 2023, the Riverfest Gravel Grinder will send participants on a 20-mile and 40-mile race on a combination of riding surfaces.
Sign up for the Fidelity Bank River Run
With a race for everyone, River Run is a great way to enjoy a morning of fun and fitness with friends and family. Plus, this year the festival will feature the first SCHEELS Family Fun Run, an untimed 1-mile race where costumes and bright colored running gear are encouraged. Other options include: 10K, 5K, 5K wheelchair and a tot trot for ages 2 to 7. Learn more here.
Take advantage of attraction discounts
Many area attractions and businesses offer discounts for those with a Riverfest button so keep it handy throughout the festival. Plus, the 2023 Sunflower Summer program, which offers free admission to Kansas residents with K-12 students, is set to kick off May 26.