Category Archives: Wichita River Festival

You don’t say

keeper“Watch out, there’s a new renegade Riverfest button very soon … .”

– An e-mail from Wichita hair stylist Michael Robertson, who created a renegade Wichita River Festival button in 2012 and is doing another one to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Keeper of the Plains (e-mail if you want one)

Wichita River Festival consolidates, moves storage into one facility

WICHITA — Ever since Wichita Festivals gave up its longtime Wichita River Festival command center and storage facility to make way for AVI Seabar & Chophouse, it has used a couple of different places for storage.

“We have been guests of the Drury and their parking garage,” says Festivals president and CEO Mary Beth Jarvis.

Festivals also has been using the former Michaels building on East Kellogg. That building is slated to be razed next year, which is necessitating new storage space.

“We have been looking around for a new home for our odd collection of stuff,” Jarvis says.

That includes such things as signs, fencing and ticket booths.

Now, Jarvis says, “the wonderful folks at PEC” are donating part of the former Chilton Billiards space at 300 S. Topeka, which Professional Engineering Consultants owns, for Festivals to use.

“They are going to allow Wichita Festivals to park our stuff there,” Jarvis says.

PEC is still looking for someone to lease the 30,000-square-foot building. If a prospective tenant needs the entire space, “then we would have to gracefully yield,” Jarvis says. “Our goal will be to co-exist.”

Read More »

Renegade Wichita River Festival button features a llama instead of a rooster

UPDATED — For what may be only the second time in the history of the Wichita River Festival, there’s a renegade button to spoof the real one that gets people into the event.

In 2007, it was a bottoms-up duck on the imposter button. This time, hair stylist Michael Robertson created a button featuring a llama in protest of the festival’s real artwork, which features a rooster.

“When I saw the original with the rooster, I thought it was the worst artwork pick they ever had,” Robertson says.

“I just made this llama because it had nothing to do with Riverfest.”

He says he’s getting good feedback from people who have seen the button.

“They’ve been saying they’d rather have the llama than the rooster.”

Wichita Festivals president and CEO Janet Wright isn’t going that far, but she does like Robertson’s button.

“I thought it was kind of funny,” she says. “Somebody with … too much time on his hands, I guess.”

Wright says she knows not everyone understands the rooster connection. That could be because there doesn’t appear to be one.

“It is a competition,” Wright says of the artwork that was chosen. “You have to pick from what you have – not to say we weren’t pleased with the direction the artist went.”

Robertson describes himself as “a serious Riverfest collector and volunteer.”

“Seriously?” Wright says.

When he volunteers at the festival this year, Robertson says he may wear his buttons all over his shirt so he can easily hand them out. You can also get one by e-mailing

Wright says she has no problem with the button, though she says that “since it’s not an official button, it won’t work to get into events.”

You don’t say

“Walking those three to five extra minutes would probably be good for us before we eat a funnel cake.”

Wichita Festivals president and CEO Janet Wright, responding to complaints from downtown workers who are disappointed the Wichita River Festival food court has moved 850 feet from where it usually is

You don’t say

“Rain predicted for last day of Festival. This is getting ridiculous. I’m waiting for Ashton Kutcher to jump out & tell me I just got punkd.”

— A Friday tweet from Wichita Festivals communications manager Allyson Clark (@allysonclark)

You don’t say

“Are they telling us that the river is poison?”

— Wichita resident Rex Rivers on how he’s noticed a Wichita River Festival billboard with a skull and crossbones on it (there’s a pirate theme for this year’s festival)

Wichita Festivals Inc. still negotiating for River Festival replacement

It seems Wichita Festivals Inc.’s negotiations with Cheap Trick are still ongoing. Check back tomorrow to see if that’s the act that will replace Wichita River Festival headliner Bret Michaels or if it’s time for Plan C.

You don’t say

“I would strongly suggest you don’t call till after River Festival. It’s not a good time.”

Wichita Festivals CEO Janet Wright, referring to signing up volunteers for Autumn & Art at Bradley Fair, which she announced Thursday

City manager runs for his life

laytonMoses Tum may have won the Bank of America River Run 10K in 32:02, but it was Wichita City Manager Bob Layton’s time that was the talk of certain circles Saturday.

The 53-year-old ran the race in 38:39 and finished 29th overall.

He may have even solved a city issue or two while running. That’s often how it happens for the daily runner, though that’s not what regularly gets him out of bed at 4:30 a.m. to run.

“It’ll hit you,” Layton says of how ideas will come to him. “It’s kind of surprising how that happens. That and shaving. For some reason (men) come up with some of our best ideas then.”

Runner Jim Ryun inspired Layton to take up track and cross country in high school. The mile, which he ran in 4:35, was his race.

“I couldn’t run quite like Jim,” Layton says.

Read More »

Associated creates, pulls River Festival video

mike-snyderThere’s a video that briefly circulated about the Top 10 things that can get you in trouble at the Wichita River Festival. But Wichita Festivals didn’t produce it — or even know about it.

Associated, which creates the River Festival poster every year, did the video. But it wasn’t a client job.

“We decided to have some fun,” says chief executive Mike Snyder.

“We don’t talk about funnel cakes,” he says. “We talk about some things that are very real. Very human.”

And very inappropriate to print in a family newspaper.

“When you get 100,000 people out, you see all kinds of different things,” Snyder says.

Read More »