WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Organizers of the Wichita River Festival announced Tuesday afternoon that the annual summer event has been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
(Photo Courtesy: Wichita Festivals, Inc.)
Wichita Festivals President and CEW Ty Tabing said the decision was made after speaking with leaders from the City of Wichita, Sedgwick County and public health officials.
"There is no question that this is the right thing to do, but there are a lot of tough emotions attached to this decision - from our dedicated volunteers, from the tremendous sponsors that make Riverfest possible and of course, from Riverfest fans, some of whom will not be spending the first week of summer at Riverfest for the first time in decades," said Tabing.
The Wichita River Festival, in its 49th year, was scheduled for May 29 through June 6.
Tabing said Riverfest is the biggest community event in the state of Kansas with a considerable economic impact on the local economy. He said last year, had more than 450,000 attendees and a $30 million impact.
Tabing said organizers are now planning virtual Riverfest 2020 which will include nods to favorite classic events, live fun and entertainment and chances to share Riverfest memories. More details will be available beginning May 1 at www.wichitariverfest.com.
Vice-Mayor Cindy Claycomb also announced that the Wichita Festivals would now turn its sights to a large scale community party for Wichita's 150th birthday.
“In 1970, Wichita’s 100th birthday party inspired the annual celebration known as Riverfest,” said Vice-Mayor Claycomb. “Who knows what might grow from this celebration of important city and county milestones—and the powerful resilience of our citizens?”
The four-day, fall-themed event is scheduled for Nov. 5-8 on St. Francis Street in downtown Wichita. It will feature Riverfest favorites such as the River Run, TouchATruck and the medallion hunt.