Festival Fun For All

It was a successful first full day of the 47th Smoky Hill River Festival. About 3/4 of an inch of rain drenched the area, but not until about an hour after the final act of the day, Paramount,  wrapped up on the Eric Stein Stage.

There was a mix of clouds and sun throughout the day, creating ideal conditions for a large crowd that mingled among 120 exhibiting artists from 19 states, including 64 first-time artists. Byron Norris helps organize “Artist Ambassadors”, something that is unique to the Smoky Hill River Festival.



There was also a full day of  food and entertainment, including music on multiple stages that concluded with Paramount hosting a celebration of the sounds of the 1980s.

Saturday started early with the 42nd Smoky Hill River Run. The event included a two-mile walk, children’s races, and a two-mile and five-mile electronically timed race.

First Treasures, a special patron tent for kids 4-13 years old opens Saturday morning.  Participants can select hundreds of items priced from $1 to $5, provided by exhibiting artists.

Saturday Night features the alternative rock band Welshly Arms playing diverse music with rock, gospel, and blues influences. The Cleveland, OH group has been used by major brands, including ESPN, MLB, NFL, NASCAR, and films such as Underground 6.

Sunday is the most chill day at the Smoky Hill River Festival. Enjoy no lines at the food vendors or kid’s activities, make your final art purchases, and celebrate Salina’s music scene with local bands.

Salina Arts & Humanities staff have prepared one last scavenger hunt for Festival goers to participate in. Kansas City Artist Evan Brown, AKA Doodle Dood, hand-painted 120 metal dragonflies that will be hidden throughout the park during the Festival, ten on Friday, June 9, ten on Saturday, June 10, and one hundred on Sunday, June 11.

Each dragonfly is a unique design with its own distinct pattern. Some will be easy to find, and some will take more work. They will not be hidden in the formal garden area of the park or inside artists’ booths and displays or on stages.

Once found, come to the “Flight of Dragonflies” mural located on the tennis court fence across from the permanent restrooms and celebrate your discovery. Sign the mural, take a selfie in front of the display, and celebrate your discovery with others. Festival Sponsor BE Wealth invites the dragonfly finders to a special client night party at Kenwood Cove on Sunday night after the Festival.

Music lovers will enjoy local area performers such as Everyday Lights, Taylor Kline featuring Mandy Kary, Thad Beach and The Randy Baldwin Band, who will be performing their original song about Salina during their set. Several musicians originating from the community will be returning during the Festival, including The Gravy Ladles and Dunebuggy, a band made up of members from local favorite Joe’s Pet Project. Howard Mahan & Friends close the Festival at the Eric Stein Stage at 3:30 pm.

Admission to the River Festival is by weekend wristband ($20 at the gate) or daily wristband ($10, sold only at the gate). Children 11 and under get in free. 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. Visit the Festival website for more information, https://www.riverfestival.com/.