The History


Image Collage of River Festival HistoryIn 1976, a downtown street fair was held as part of the area's Bicentennial celebration. It was such a hit that plans were soon underway for the first-ever Smoky Hill River Festival in 1977. Elements were gradually added to the new cultural event, including a Festival fun run, a children's art area, a 'park and ride' shuttle service, and the ever-popular Festival Jam concert.

The dynamic installations, a local/regional stage, the Arts Patron program, and a "First Treasures" tent for young art lovers are other Festival elements added over time.

Since its inception, the Smoky Hill River Festival has been enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of residents and guests. More than 2,000 volunteers collaborate each year to help the event run smoothly.

Many area individuals and businesses contribute significant financial and other material resources to make the Festival a premier event of its kind throughout the central United States. The Smoky Hill River Festival has developed an outstanding reputation in performing and visual arts, unmatched in hospitality and support.

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