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Wichita’s event scene is a healthy of mix of both hyper-local hip and general audience-attractions. The city boasts nationally-recognized seasonal festivals, a downtown arena hosting top-level talent, a steady schedule of area sports teams, and niche venues of all varieties — from comedy clubs to coffee houses to chic fundraisers. And, if a certain segment finds something missing, this is the kind of place where someone steps up to fill the gap and create yet another signature specialty.
Concerts and Events
Start with the biggest party on the prairie, Wichita Riverfest, the largest and longest running community event in the state. During nine days in June, nearly half a million people converge along the river for concerts, food, contests and fireworks.
Wichita has venues from tightly-packed bars like Barleycorn's and Kirby's to everything in between like Wave, The Cotillion, and Brickyard. For headliners and chart-toppers, head to INTRUST Bank Arena, a 15,000-seat indoor venue in the heart of downtown. Top artists Imagine Dragons, P!nk, Thomas Rhett, Paul McCartney and Blake Shelton have appeared here. The arena is also the home field for Wichita Thunder, the city’s minor league hockey team, and the site played host to the first- and second-round NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament last year (returning in 2021).
Sports fans find lots more to cheer, first and foremost for Wichita State University Shockers, along with teams from numerous other local universities, colleges and high schools. It’s also worth checking out Wichita Force football and the ICT Roller Girls.
For the Love of Film
If summer gets kicked off in Wichita with Riverfest, the fall claims colorful, much-anticipated events of its own. The "Stubbornly Independent" Tallgrass Film Festival has been ranked as one of the top 25 coolest festivals in the world, attracting international film makers, directors and aficionados and welcomes the public to take part. For more than 30 years, Wichita has also been one of the only U.S. cities to offer free screenings of Academy Award-nominated short films, simply known as "The Oscar Shorts."
Every season includes stellar social events, with noteworthy celebrations including: Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade and gatherings, St. Patrick’s Day parade, Wichita Jazz Festival, Wichita Blues Crawl, Great Plains Renaissance Festival, Wichita Art Museum’s Art and Book Fair, ICT Comic Con, Wichita Air Show, Autumn and Art at Bradley Fair, Oktoberfest, and – just a few miles south – the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield hosts a 30,000-person campground bluegrass and acoustic music festival. Ever wanted to experience the symphony outside of your theater seat? Experience Symphony in the Flint Hills, an amphitheater concert in the middle of a tallgrass prairie.