46th “Epic Arts Party” Planned

Salina Arts & Humanities Tuesday morning unveiled more highlights for the 46th Smoky Hill River Festival.

Arts & Humanities Executive Director Brad Anderson said this will be the largest organized community event in Salina since the beginning of the pandemic two years ago.

The year’s most energetic and epic arts party begins in under 60 days. Festival-goers should mark their calendars and anticipate memory-making experiences with friends and family.

Among other things there will be multiple acts on multiple stages, including 8 national and regional acts.t

  • Country music and sunny Latino sounds are the themes on Festival stages. Headliners include Jason Boland & The Stragglers (Friday), Gangstagrass (Saturday), and SunDub (Sunday). Other familiar, yet different acts include The RT’s from NYC, Las Cafeteras from Los Angeles, CA, and Armchair Boogie from Minneapolis, MN. Roving and Arty’s Stage acts include Up, Up & Away balloon artists from Kansas City, and Duke Otherwise from Madison, WI. The Festival also features performances by aerial artists Voler- Thieves of Flight, in the pond each evening at 8 pm.

On the art scene, there will be 47 new artists, or 40 percent will of the total.

  • Visual artists from 19 states come to the Festival to sell, demonstrate, and install their work. This year will be the Festival debut for 47 artists throughout the show and Art Demonstration areas. Salina native Hannah Gebhart created this year’s Festival print and Festival t-shirt. The t-shirt’s colorful elements began as an on-edge quilling piece before being transformed into an image. More than 20 site-specific, outdoor Art Installations will surprise Festival-goers around every corner across Oakdale Park.
  • Artyopolis for kids includes Creation Crossing make-and-take crafts, Button Boulevard, an artistically improved Game Street, Lego Lane, Mistical Oasis, Paintchoo Plaza, Arty’ Stage acts, and more. Artyopolis hours are Friday – Saturday 10 am to 6 pm and Sunday 12 pm to 4 pm.

The River Festival’s Art Patron Program offers art lovers and collectors a chance to sign up for special perks, including admission to the Thursday night PREMIERE cocktail party and a Friday morning preview hour of art show shopping, and more. Sign up by calling 785-309-5770.

For many, Food Row is a ‘must stop’ part of the Festival. With 10 new food vendors, there are plenty of new tastes to experience, including:

  • Crawfish Boil
  • Dole Pineapple Whip
  • Tike Tenders
  • Texas Twister
  • Sweet Thai Pork Tacos
  • Grilled Veggie Sandwich
  • Hot and Spicy Chicken Gyro
  • Hawaiian Chicken Sandwich

Amanda Morris from Arts and Humanities told KSAL News the river festival wouldn’t be possible without a small army of volunteers, between 2,000 and 3,000.


Admission to the River Festival is by weekend wristband ($15 in advance, $20 at the gate) available in regional cities starting Sunday, May 1, or by daily wristband ($10, sold only at the gate). Children 11 and under get in free. See a list of all local or regional wristband retailers at: https://www.riverfestival.com/participating-retailers/. General Festival hours are Thursday, June 9 from 4 pm to 10 pm, Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 10 pm, and Sunday, June 12 from 10 am to 5 pm.