Startup Weekend

Last night some people were clubbing, partying, hanging out at the mall with friends, at the movies, or at home just chillin’ while there were a few working. At the Labor Party ideas were getting pitched.

I dropped my little sister Kira off at her house around nine o’clock or so, after we went home to let Molly out and feed her, then dinner at Panda Express, and after we finished painting our projects at Color Me Mine. I can’t post pictures of our projects because they are presents and we wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise.

Anyway, I was already downtown so I decided to check on my dreamer husband who was participating in Startup Weekend. He’s a dreamer who is always coming up with ideas. He registered for the event kind of at the last minute at a friend’s recommendation and encouragement. Of course, I was super excited because I’d always wanted to attend myself but have always been so busy. This way I actually get to be in two places at once because I’m experiencing Startup Weekend through Brian. I know it’s not the same but, given how hectic my schedule is, this is as good as it’s going to get for me right now.

When I arrived they had already completed the pitches process and were just about to form teams. Brian’s idea wasn’t one of the top four concepts. He’s a dreamer who needs talented people to work on his idea. With the limited number of technically skilled participants, many people were gravitating towards the top ideas. I think he was bummed that he couldn’t work on his startup. He pretty much just hung out with me and filled me in. This was not acceptable. If I’m going to be vicariously living Startup Weekend through Brian, he needs to work on a project even if it’s not his own.

The facilitator and I finally convinced Brian to join a team. The team already had four or five members prior to Brian. I feel really bad for the team he joined too for the sequence of events that followed.

So he joins the team and they’re talking about their project, etc. I’m just kind of hanging out, observing the initial stages of team formation. Then Brian asked me to come to their table so I can listen in as the team commenced discussing their concept and planning everything they need to do.

As I’m sitting at the table, trying desperately to stay out of the way, I see the flip chart with the PLTW idea. As you know, I was super impressed with the Engineering Academy kids at West High that PLTW now holds a special place in my heart. I was like, “That’s an idea that I’d like to work on. Who’s working on that?”

The guy who pitched the idea eventually wanders off to our table so I turn my attention away from the team that Brian’s working with so I can learn more about the PLTW idea which I was really excited about. There is a female engineer who offered to work on the idea with the originator but there’s just the two of them. They didn’t have a team. I told them, “This is an idea that I would really like to work on but I’m busy this weekend. If you want to work on it in the weeks or months to come, then I definitely want to help and be part of it.”

Between the three of us, we had an idea that we were passionate about but had no team. I wasn’t even registered to participate in Startup Weekend. I was merely a spectator. LOL. This is when I discovered something important: one person can make a difference.

If they wanted to continue working on the PLTW idea outside of Startup Weekend, I told them I would help round up resources. Even though I have no technical skills to contribute — I’m not a graphic designer, programmer, engineer, or web developer — I was absolutely certain I could round up some people with the necessary skills. Not over the weekend, but we would get it done.

When I latch on to something that ignites my passion, I have a difficult time restraining myself because I have so much enthusiasm and energy. That can be both powerful and scary. Just ask Brian. Within a few minutes of sitting their table, I managed to jack everything up. Their team switched gears and they’re now working on the PLTW project instead of the food porn idea.

One of my reservations about participating in Startup Weekend is that I really have nothing to offer a startup. At least Brian is a dreamer and has lots of ideas. I have no startup ideas. I’m a joiner with no ideas of my own. The one thing I am is a collector of hobbies and experiences. I want to participate in everything life has to offer and I specially relish opportunities to support causes that I’m passionate about.

However, after last night, I realized that I can use my energy and enthusiasm to rally people around an idea. Maybe there is a place for people like me in Startup Weekend after all. Every team needs a joiner.

American Education Week

American Education Week is November 17 to November 21. Five Wichita public schools are participating. Visit one, two, or all of the sessions listed to celebrate American Education Week and experience education like you’ve never seen it.

Monday, November 17 – 3:00 PM
Earhart Environmental Elementary Magnet, 4401 Arkansas
Unique magnet experience and efficiency in building design

Tuesday, November 18 – 8:30 AM
South High School, 701 W. 33rd Street S.
Technology and curriculum meet in the iPad initiative

Wednesday, November 19 – 9:00 AM
Coleman Middle School, 1544 N. Governeour
College prep through AVID’s Socratic dialogue

Thursday, November 20 – 2:00 PM
Horace Mann Dual Language K-8 Magnet, 1243 N. Market
Dual language learning starts in kindergarten

Friday, November 21 – 1:00 PM
West High School, 820 S. Osage
High tech pre-engineering and 3D printing

Please RSVP to make your selections. Call Superintendent Allison’s office at (316) 973-4580 or email jelly@usd259.net.

If I wasn’t already booked up next week, I would totally attend at least one of these sessions. I can tell you from experience the pre-engineering program at West High is AMAZING. After spending time with the Engineering Academy kids during our Leadership Wichita session on Education, I was very impressed. Derby High is great, but the experience made me wish I would have gone to West High instead. I might have finished my Engineering degree, or realized that it wasn’t for me and save time and money and gone straight to business out of high school.

I suppose I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for the seven years of undergrad. LOL. My time at Wichita State taught me a lot. I would have rather not bounced between various majors and finished in four years, though.

Anyway, in case you don’t already know, we have fantastic public schools in Wichita. Check them out during American Education Week (or any other time — I was told they love visitors) and see for yourself.

Hanging Out with the Little One

Here are some pictures from when Kira and I visited the Wichita Art Museum.

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I’d forgotten how much I love the art museum. The best part is that admission is free on Saturdays. You just make a small donation and you’re good to go. Once my life starts to calm down and I have some free time, I’m totally taking Brian there one a date.

One of the positive side effects of having a little sister is that she’s helping me rediscover all the things that I love to do but haven’t had time for in recent years. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be a big sister to Kira because I’m not only sharing some great experiences but I’m also learning and growing so much the experience.

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Here’s Kira at the Keeper of the Plains.

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Sometimes Kira and I hang out by ourselves like when we spent the afternoon at the Wichita Art Museum and the Keeper of the Plains; sometimes Brian gets to hangout with us like when the three of us went roller skating.

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We recently went to the zoo (thanks to the free zoo tickets from work) and Brian got to hang out with us there. You can’t tell from this photo but they’re both holding their breath because the penguin exhibit is stinky. LOL.

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Brian loaned Kira a pair of tinted safety glasses since she didn’t have one.

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But we got some new sunglasses as a souvenir from the zoo’s gift shop. It matched her outfit better and really completes the look, don’t you think?

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Hereford House on Urbanspoon

Today we had Sunday brunch at Hereford House. We usually go to Legends at the airport for brunch, but the brunch experience at Hereford House is actually much better. I’m not just saying that because it’s closer to our house either.

The food selection is not as vast as Legends, but the quality of the food is good. They have a prime rib carving station, a waffle bar, an omelet bar, an assortment of entrees (today they had smoked salmon), along with the usual breakfast staples such as scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage, bacon, biscuits and gravy, etc. They also had fresh fruits and cheeses. There was wide array of pastries and desserts to choose from but we were all so full there was no way we could eat any more.

If you ask Brian, he’d pick Hereford House over Legends because the former has better coffee. I’m not sure if Kira has been to Legends, but I’m pretty sure that the golf cart rides at Hereford House won her over. There was a nice young man who gave us a lift both ways. Even though our car was just a few yards from the front entrance, we got ride in the cart instead of walking to the front door and instead of walking back to our car. Kira really liked that.

As for me, I’d give Hereford House a slight edge based on location. I’m a happy camper anytime I can avoid having to drive West on Kellogg. Another thing that I liked about Hereford House is that it’s a lot less crowded and more relaxed. Legends is always so busy. However, I do have to admit that Legends has better food selection and, of course, Legends has Mo manning their omelet station. He’s pretty hard to beat.

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This is really a close one. I guess you’ll just have to try Hereford House and decide for yourself. We liked it.

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My First Time at Roller City

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Kira wanted to go skating so we took her to Roller City on Saturday. I don’t know how to skate so Brian went with us.

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I’m so glad he did because he was able to skate with Kira while I clung to the walls for dear life. Brian used to be a floor guard so he can skate forwards and backwards. I, on the other hand, never learned how and can barely stay on my feet.

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Here are a couple of videos of Kira and Brian skating.

Brian showing off his skating prowess.

Saturday was my first time at Roller City and it was Kira’s first time at Ziggy’s Pizza, my favorite pizza joint.

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We got to experience a couple of firsts together.

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We had the all meat pizza and wings.

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The barbecue chicken wings were yummy!

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Everything was delicious as always.

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The root beer float was the best part. It came in chilled glass goblet bigger than Kira’s head. Brian and I agreed we would go back just for the root beer float.

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Ziggy's Pizza on Urbanspoon

We had an awesome outing overall. No broken bones except for the ones that were in the chicken wings. LOL.

Ziggy’s Pizza is the perfect end to any outing. Even if I took some tumbles at the skating rink, the amazing food at Ziggy’s would have made it all better. Their food is not just delicious. It’s magical. If you’ve never been to Ziggy’s, I highly recommend it. Their $13 pizzas are more than enough to feed three people so it’s a great value. It’s a fantastic dinner option that won’t break the bank. I’m just glad we don’t live any closer or we’d be there every night.

Sales Tax Referendum

On Tuesday, November 4, Wichitans have a chance to make a difference for our community by voting in favor of the one-cent sales tax to fund plans for water, transit, jobs and streets.

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The proposed ballot question is as follows: Shall the City of Wichita, Kansas, be authorized, pursuant to K.S.A. 12-187 et seq., to impose a one percent (1.0%) city-wide retailers’ sales tax to be effective April 1, 2015, and which will terminate no later than April 1, 2020, with an amount not to exceed $250 million dollars of such tax applied to pay the costs for the purchase, development, maintenance and operation of a long-term water supply, with an amount not to exceed $80 million dollars of such tax applied for job development and creation, with an amount not to exceed $39.8 million dollars of such tax applied to support Wichita Transit operations, and with an amount not to exceed $27.8 million dollars of such tax applied for street maintenance and repairs?

And They Say There’s Nothing To Do in Kansas

Looking for something to do? Here are some options:

KEYN Summer Concert Series
Every Friday, July 11 to August 15
Wichita, KS

Kansas Biggest Rodeo
July 31 to August 2
Phillipsburg, KS

Midget Nationals
July 31 to August 2
Belleville, KS

Busker Festival
August 22 to 24
Lawrence, KS

Tumbleweed Festival
August 22 to 24
Garden City, KS

Heritage Day
August 23
Yoder, KS

Little Balkans Days
August 29 to 31
Pittsburg, KS

Did I miss anything? Add your event in the comments.

Starlite Fun with Friends

We had so much fun at the Starlite drive-in last weekend. Brian and I hadn’t seen the movies they were showing and we also hadn’t been to the drive-in in several years. We were glad that Becca came up with the idea to go to the drive-in and invited us.

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Brian and I were running later than usual because we had to stop and pick up some supplies on the way. The Dills were already in line when we got there. We couldn’t have planned it any better because we got in line right behind them.

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Though we ran later than usual, we were still early enough to get some prime spots. We were smack dab in the middle and had perfect view of the screen. Cory and April were running even later so we saved a spot for them. I was amazed that the security people who kept patrolling the rows didn’t chew us out for saving a spot.

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The blue chairs on the left is how we saved the spot for Cory and April.

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Brian and I broke in our new anti-gravity chairs (also sometimes called zero gravity chairs) that night and they worked out great. They were super comfortable and elevated us enough above the tops of cars that I didn’t have any issues. When are lower on the ground the tops of the cars sometimes get in the way. I had no problems at all last Saturday.

If you would like to get your own set of these amazing zero gravity chairs you can get a pair from Amazon by following this link. These chairs fold for portability. They really are the perfect outdoor chairs to tote around to events like the summer jazz concerts, drive-in, camping, etc. After you get these chairs you’ll find yourself going to the drive-in or just plain sitting around outside more. I guarantee it. I’m actually ready for another trip to the drive-in. LOL.

Adventure Boogies

Brian and I went on this dune buggy adventure. They spell them as boogies in Punta Cana. I thought that was funny because boogies here are dried snot hanging from your nostrils. LOL. Their boogies are the kind you ride.

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The excursion was through Wild Tiger.

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This photo was taken before we got really dirty. If you go on a similar excursion we recommend wearing sunglasses (though Brian thought goggles would have been better) and bandanas to keep the debris from getting into your eyes and nose.

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My handsome dune buggy driver. Too bad you can’t see his face.

This is how you get dirty and why you need a bandana.

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Brian tried some freshly rolled tobacco. He said it was delicious. We should have brought more cash so we could have purchased a box of them to bring home.

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We also got to drive to Macao Beach. One of the best beaches in the Caribbean.

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This was taken right before we left Macao Beach. This is of Brian with our hilariously funny tour guide, Chico, who speaks seven languages: Haitian Creole (he is from Haiti), French, German, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, and English.

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La Cueva Taina was a bit of a disappointment. I thought it would be a bigger cave. This one was small and there were way too many people trying to get down there to dive.

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Chico expertly maneuvered our group down into the cave past the long lines of people.

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This is a video I took of Brian diving into the dark abyss.

Dune buggies parked by the cave entrance.

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Street vendors set up shop by the cave to entice tourists.

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Here’s a group photo we took at the end of the excursion on our way back to our respective resorts. What a fun group of people!

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Some tips for when you go:

  • Negotiate the price of the excursion. Don’t pay more than $60. I think the web site had the price double that. When you get to your resort, talk to the tours rep. They’ll usually let you know what kinds of deals are available. Brian and I only paid $50 each. Another group we met who came from the Melia Caribe Tropical paid $45 each for the excursion.
  • Don’t wear your best clothes because you will get super dirty. At worst you’ll have to throw the clothes away at the end of the adventure. At best you’ll have to hose yourself off before stepping foot in your hotel room. That’s what we had to do. We’re not just being pansies either. You drive over mangoes and the guts splash all over you. It’s also hard to avoid the cow pies. The wheels kick them up and some may land on you. The mud puddles are the least of your worries.
  • Wear sunglasses and a bandana. The sunglasses will protect your eyes from dust and debris. The bandana will help you breathe while keeping dirt out of mouth. If you did not pack a bandana you can buy one at the adventure site for $5. They sell some souvenir trinkets and stuff, but I bet it’s the bandanas that they make them the most money. If you’re resourceful like Brian and me, you’ll buy some from the resort gift shop for half that. We got two bandanas for the price of one.
  • Bring lots of singles for tipping. You’ll need cash to tip the driver that gets you to and from your resort. You’ll need cash for the tour guide, the tobacco guy, the guy who sells the coffee grounds, the guy with the docile iguana, etc. Just bring lots of cash because you may want to buy stuff from the local shops too. And, if you want to purchase photos and videos, that costs too. The pricing they gave us was $40 for photos, $42 for video, or $60 for both. We didn’t have enough cash but I took enough photos and videos for us.
  • Driving the buggy requires a lot of effort. It’s not a smooth ride and these buggies aren’t in the best shape. There’s only one gear that works — drive. We know park didn’t work because the buggy continued to move forward even when you put it in park. We didn’t get to try reverse but I’m sure that probably didn’t work either.. There’s also a lot of play in the steering. Brian said it took a lot of strength and effort to overcompensate for the play in the steering. Brian said he was sore the next day.
  • Bring snacks, specially if you are hypoglycemic. Your tour guide will have water on hand and that’s included. However, food was not included for us since it’s technically a half-day excursion. Lunch is typically only provided on full-day trips. If you want more than just water, bring your own snacks.

Are You Ready for Hoopla in Doo-Dah?

Are you ready for the Wichita River Festival? It starts tomorrow so I hope you are. Here’s a list of the street closings. This is important information if you work downtown like Brian and I do.

CAPITOL FEDERAL FIREWORKS
Friday, May 30, 2014
Noon to 11:00 p.m.

1. Douglas from Water to Sycamore (Noon to 11 p.m.)
2. 2nd/1st from McLean to Waco (5:30 to 11 p.m.)
3. McLean from 1st to Maple (5:30 to 11 p.m.)
4. N. Civic Center Place between Douglas and 1st (noon to 11 p.m.)
5. Willis Coroon Dr. between Douglas and 1st (noon to 11 p.m.)
6. Waco from Douglas to 1st (5:30 to 11 p.m.)
7. Sycamore from McClean to Douglas (noon to 11 p.m.)

SUNDOWN PARADE
Friday, May 30, 2014

Staging: 5:30 to 9:00 p.m.
1. Main from Central to 11th
2. Elm from Water to Market
3. Pine from Wichita to Market
4. Wichita from Murdock to Central
5. Wichita from Murdock to 8th St. (both ends)
6. Water from Murdock to Elm
7. 8th from Water to Market
8. 9th from Water to Market
9. 10th from Water to Market. Central stays open for cross traffic for as long as practical.
Parade: 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
1. Main from Central to English
2. 2nd from Market to Waco
3. 1st from McLean to Main
4. Waco from Douglas to Central
5. 3rd from Riverview to Market
6. Central from Market to Nims
7. Greenway from Central to Waco
8. Douglas from McLean to Market
9. William from Market ot Main
10. Murdock form Waco to Market
11. Water form Douglas to 3rd

Any traffic exiting the Core Area or to/from the Broadview Hotel, CII personnel and Hyatt Service will access via Doguals from McLean. Northwest portion of 1st and McLean intersection remains open for traffic. WPD ultimately controls the actual times of street closings and openings.

KANSAS HEALTH FOUNDATION RIVER RUN
Saturday, May 31, 2014
4:00 to 11:00 a.m.

1. Lewis Street, McLean Boulevard to Waterman Street
2. Waterman Street, Lewis Street to Washington Avenue
3. Wichita Street, Dewey Street to Lewis Street
4. Water Street, Waterman Street to Main Street
5. Main Street, Lewis Street to English Street
6. Market Street, Lewis Street to Douglas Avenue
7. Broadway Avenue, Lewis Street to First Street
8. Topeka Street, Lewis Street to First Street
9. Emporia Street, Lewis Street to Douglas Avenue
10. St. Francis Street, Waterman Street to Mead Street
11. Commerce Street, Waterman Street to Mead Street
12. Mead Street, Waterman Street to Douglas Avenue
13. Douglas Avenue, Washington Street to Sycamore Street
14. Main Street, First Street to Williams Street
15. Waco Street, Douglas Avenue to Ninth Street
16. First Street/Second Street, McLean Boulevard to Wichita Street
17. Second Street, Wichita Street to Riverview Street
18. Third Street, Wichita Street to Waco Street
19. Central Avenue, Main Street to Greenway Boulevard
20. Murdock Street, Water Street to West Stackman Drive
21. Eight Street, Waco Street to Backbay Boulevard
22. Backbay Boulevard, Eight Street to Ninth Street
23. Ninth Street, Backbay Boulevard to Bitting Street
24. Jefferson Street, Eighth Street to Oak Park Drive
25. Oak Park Drive, Bitting Street to Eleventh Street
26. Bitting Street, Tenth Street to West River Boulevard
27. Forest Street, Oak Park Drive to Eleventh Street
28. Eleventh Street, Oak Park Drive to West River Boulevard
29. Briggs Street, West River Boulevard to Litchfield Street
30. Litchfield Street, West River Boulevard to Faulkner Street
31. Faulkner Street, West River Boulevard to Buffum Street
32. Buffum Street, West River Boulevard to Carter Street
33. Carter Street, West River Boulevard to Riverside Avenue
34. Riverside Avenue, West River Boulevard to Nims Street
35. Nims Street, Franklin Street to West River Boulevard
36. Wiley Street, West River Boulevard to Murdock Street
37. West River Boulevard, Eleventh Street to Murdock Street
38. Stackman Drive, Murdock Avenue to Central Avenue
39. Nims Street, Riverside Park Drive to Central Avenue
40. Spaulding Street, Murdock Avenue to Stackman Drive
41. Gilman Street, Murdock Street to Buffum Street
42. Buffum Street, Stackman Drive to Faulkner Street
43. Faulkner Street, Stackman Drive to Pine Street
44. Pine Street, Stackman Drive to Sim Park Drive
45. Sim Park Drive, Stackman Drive to Central Avenue
46. Central Avenue, Nims Street to Seneca Street
47. Seneca Street, Central Avenue to McLean Boulevard
48. McLean Boulevard, Seneca Street to Taft Street
49. Sycamore Street, McLean Boulevard to Maple Street

KENNEDY PLAZA EVENT AREA
May 27-29, 9:00 to 10:00 p.m.
May 30, 9:00 a.m. to May 31, 1:00 a.m.
June 1, 8:00 a.m. to June 2, 1:00 a.m.
June 2-5, 2:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.
June 6, 7:00 a.m. to June 9, noon

1. Douglas between Waco & Water St.
2. N. Civic Center Place between Douglas and 1st
3. Willis Coroon Dr. between Douglas and 1st

WATERWALK EVENT AREA
May 28, 9:00 a.m. to June 10, 11:00 p.m.

1. S Wichita St. between Lewis St. &the Hyatt Driveway
2. S Water St. between W Waterman St. & W Dewey St.
3. Waterwalk Plc/W Lewis St. between S Wichita St. & S Water St.
Wednesday, June 4, noon to midnight
Saturday, June 7, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

1. Lewis St (including Lewis St Bridge) between S McLean Blvd & S Wichita
2. S Wichita St between Lewis St & W. Dewey St.

A SALUTE TO AVIATION
May 31, 10:00 p.m. to June 2, 3:00 a.m.

1. Douglas between Water & Main St.
2. Water between Douglas & First
3. Main St. between Douglas & Williams
4. Main St. between Williams & English
5. Main St. between English & Waterman

TOUCH A TRUCK
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
3:00 p.m. to midnight

1. Waterman (including Lewis St. Bridge) between McClean & Hyatt Driveway
2. Wichita between Waterman & Dewey
3. Water between Waterman & Dewey
4. Lewis St. between Wichita & Water

MARKETPLACE
Saturday, June 7, 2014
5:00 a.m. to midnight

1. Douglas between Water & Main St.
2. Water between Douglas & 1st St.

The big events on opening day are always the Sundown Parade, Twilight Pops Concert, and fireworks. There’s also an opening ceremony at the Keeper of the Plains in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the dedication of this iconic symbol of the city of Wichita. The opening ceremony starts at 11:30 a.m. and only last 15 minutes so you don’t want to be late.

Saturday is the day of the River Run. There’s a 10K, a 2 mile family fun walk, 2 mile and 2 mile wheelchair. There’s also the tot trot, a fun run for kids ages 2 to 7 years. Check your booklet or the web site for the schedule because the events start at different times and locations.

Don’t forget Wichita’s world record attempt at the longest line of bicycles. This event meets at WaterWalk Pavilion at 1:00 p.m. Another thing that dad may find interesting is the RC airplanes flying around all day at Century II. Hot air balloons launch from WaterWalk at 5:30 a.m. and return for a glow in the evening from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.

For sporty and outdoorsy types, there’s softball, dodgeball, tennis, tug of war, jet ski racing, biking tours, canoes & kayaks, and paddle battle kayak races.

Sunday is all about planes. There will be planes on display on Main Street (South of Douglas) from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm; a Wichita aviation display, RC planes, and paper airplane drop at Century II; B-52 simulator; and meet famous aviators (tent behind the Wichita Public Library). Hot air balloons will launch from WaterWalk Pavilion at 6:00 p.m. to celebrate this day of flight.

There’s so much to do! That’s the best part about Wichita River Festival. There’s something for everyone. I wish I didn’t have to work and could participate in all of the activities. Well, maybe not all of them. Perhaps next year I can talk Brian into volunteering for stuff and even doing some sightseeing. People watching at Riverfest is always the biggest spectator event. It even has its own Facebook page. Making a mental note of scheduling vacation during Riverfest week. If I forget, remind me!

Kids Bowl Free All Summer Long

I just found out about this amazing program. I want to sign all my nephews up for it!

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