The 2014 Smoky Hill River Festival is history.
Organizers tell KSAL News that on Sunday 7,008 people crossed the bridges into the park to enjoy the final day of the festival. The total attendace for the weekend was 62,860, which is 552 more than last year.
Mother nature was a big factor in the large attendance this year. Other than some gusty wind on Saturday, and wind and rain after the festival closed late Saturday night, the weather was beautiful. With daily high temperatures in the 80s and lower 90s, and evening temperatures in the 50s and 60s, festival fans enjoyed some of the most ideal conditions possible.
There are multiple reasons why Salina’s signature event continues to grow in popularity. Festival fans keep coming back to enjoy the wide range of entertainment, arts, crafts, food, and fun activities for kids.
According to Salina Arts and Humanities, it’s not just the festival fans who want to keep coming back. It’s also the artists and entertainers. Officials tell KSAL News that they had several participants on Sunday express gratitude about how welcome and cared for they feel in Salina, and at the festival.
Salina Arts and Humanities Executive Director tells KSAL News that an event like this couldn’t be pulled off without the help of a small army of volunteers. There are seven staff members who work a good portion of the year on the event, 22 – 24 committees, and over 2000 volunteers. “Other festivals that boast about having several hundred volunteers are blown away when they learn about the support we have”, he says.
Even though the 2014 Smoky Hill River Festival just finished, organizers are already working on next year’s festival. Anderson says that planning for the 2015 Smoky Hill River Festival actually started earlier this spring.