When I was a little girl, I looked forward to the Wichita Riverfestival every year! This event–an annual outdoor 2 week party in Wichita, KS–pulls out all the stops with carnivals, street merchants, food vendors, music, parades…The whole nine! Out here in ‘the Big City,’ you guys have something very similar–I believe you call it “First Fridays,” but back home in ‘ol Wichita, we get down once a year and we get down for 24 days straight! (Top that big, Chief fans!)
My mom was so great to me and my sisters when we were little. She would load us up in our little, red wagon and throw her big, blue canvas bag over her shoulder–loaded with trail mix, goldfish crackers and cheesy poofs. She would pack a cooler full of drinks and then she’d haul us down to the festivities.
I’ve got a bad-ass mom and a couple of pretty great sisters. Those factors combined with funnel cakes, cotton candy and sun–It just didn’t get any better…
I have tried to re-attend the festival in recent years past–attempting to chase down those nostalgic feelings of my childhood.
I owe a major shout out to my mother who did all that she did to creatively mask the harsh realities of the true ‘face’ of Wichita and it’s big, bad festival. It’s not as pretty through my adult eyes…definitely a whole lot weirder.
Cheesy poofs, funnel cakes, concerts and bathtub races are a thing of the past! Here are my new favorite parts of the annual Wichita Riverfestival:
- The fella in the dirty clothes that sleeps on the bench in front of the Wichita Public Library and asks for “Aeaa one dollear, ma’ammm?” each time you walk by
- The woman with the little SmartCar (that she identifies as a baby stroller) which she uses as a plow-tool to mow down the people who do not jump out of her path quickly enough
- That little, 17 year old girl, who wears the extremely short denim cutoffs and low-cut spaghetti strap tank top–Lots of mascara and the Hannah Montana scrunchy around her wrist (oh wait, she’s only 12…)
- The young boys who walk in packs, 7 or 8 abroad, who despite their lack of manners (insofar as to actually step aside to allow others to pass the opposite way) must be given props for their coordination efforts. Many of them are able to balance a baseball cap atop their head, hold a straw to their mouth with their left hand, and maintain just enough pants-coverage over their crotch with their right hand to pass as “legal.”
- The group of crack fiends who may or may not have just met that day (the longevity of the relationship doesn’t really matter all that much when dope is involved), but appear to be having a blast! Shampoo, teeth, laundered apparel–all optional. (These guys aren’t so bad–But I just can’t help but cringe when they rub up against me in the hot, sweaty crowd).
- This fella: