WICHITA — It’s too late for this year, but next year revelers at the Wichita River Festival might be able to drink alcohol as they wander the festival.
A bill that allows special events to serve alcohol and wine within event boundaries will go into effect July 1 after it was signed into law Monday by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.
The city of Wichita pushed the idea as a way to enhance social events.
“I’m very pleased to see it going through,” said Mayor Carl Brewer.
The change will allow the city more flexibility in the events it hosts, he said, adding he hoped it would help Wichita attract various activities.
CityArts is already working to organize an event that will use the new law, he said.
Janet Wright, president and chief executive officer of Wichita Festivals Inc., which runs River Festival, said the group is still deciding what it wants to do under the law next year.
Right now, those who want to drink at the festival have to go to a cordoned-off beer garden.
“Everyone gathers in one particular spot to stand and drink because that is all you can do in that spot,” she said.
With the new law, beer drinkers could be allowed to wander the festival while quaffing their brews, she said.
“It’s not just about drinking — it is about the whole experiences,” she said, adding organizers would be careful not to damage the festival’s family-friendly atmosphere.