A gigantic festival
in Wichita, Kansas
. Also known as the “Wichita River Festival.”
The festival is funded by the city (I believe), and lasts for a little over a few days. Attractions include various bands, street vendors strutting their wares, non-existent parking spaces, activities in the Arkansas river (which looks like the river from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory), and general ruckuses caused by unruly teenagers. Fireworks herald the end.
Last year’s was apparently more of a financial loss than anything, and the festival committee came under pressure to cut some attractions, add new ones, and generally stop sucking so bad. Another problem with last year’s was that the whole thing was kindof… disorganized and spread randomly over the city. So they centralized it a bit more.
The musical acts this year were to include LeAnn Rimes (she cancelled the performance due to sickness), Bowling for Soup, and smaller, local acts.
It should be noted that the Riverfest grows like a mold, springing up overnight, closing off many roads near the river itself. At its peak this year, there were about 300,000 people in that area of Wichita alone. The location is always the same (to the best of my knowledge), extending from the Lawrence-DuMont stadium, along the length of the Arkansas river, down to Exploration Place. (I’ll need to call the city to get the exact streets and whatnot.)
Festival attendees are constantly reminded to cleanse themselves properly if they play in/around the river, though that doesn’t seem to stop others from having jet-ski races within its chocolate-brown tides. Others who are more health conscious choose to escape the humid, cake-like air of midsummer Kansas by frolicking in the fountains (which clearly state for people not to frolick in them.)
One of the more unusual sights at this festival is the large- nay... mammoth amount of kids wearing black flocking to the wooded, shaded areas near the convention center. I don't think I’ve ever seen that many shirts advocating marijuana leaves in one place in my entire life. Local law enforcement LOVES to hang around that area, usually for good reason, but they are prone to focusing too much of their attentions to that one place, leaving the rest of the festival subject to immature shenanigans at the hands of others.
It is fun to traverse the streets, tossing money into the guitar cases of people playing their music, and generally making friends and conversing with others. And the home-made funnel cakes are worth killing for.
There is a fantastic chance that you could bear witness to someone being arrested.