The River Festival has always been a kind of commercial extravaganza for local businesses who want to get their name and wares displayed in a large crowd. There’s still a river run that a local bank puts on.
And yet we can’t really blame the city for wanting to put on an event that draws people from miles around to visit an enjoy Wichita.
I’ve complained about various aspects of the festival in the past, but as with the Grinch, I don’t want to steal fun away from the families and the people who actually do enjoy this festival.
On the positive side, they put more events closer to the river. They want people to appreciate the river even it if is too polluted to use for actual events, such as the old bathtub races.
But our city officials always come up with something stupid to mess up an event. This year they moved it from May to June because a few events got rained out in May. Now it is in June and this year we have had triple digit temperatures which are normally rare for this time of the year. Monday through Wednesday was about 100° plus.
Last year I heard complaints that people who go to the music concerts are usually crammed into an area open to the hot sun where they can’t bring in their own drinks. They have to buy overpriced bottled water and other refreshments from venders there. They can’t even bring their own water. Many young people I know just don’t go and that was last year when the temperatures weren’t as bad.
The high temperatures could be global warming, but it is way too early to tell. If this happens five years in a row, we will know something is wrong. For this year it may just be bad luck. But the festival is still being held at a really bad time period.