From live music and fireworks to fine art and indy films, festivals in Wichita and the surrounding areas offer a rich assortment of activities and entertainment. If you’re eager to take part in the fun, browse our list of popular annual events in Wichita. Just scroll down – they’re listed by season to make it easy for you to plan ahead. Enjoy!
Also, don’t miss our big, big list of small-town Fall Festivals Near Wichita. There are so many of these wonderful small-town festivals we had to give them their own page!
Annual Winter Events
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
This celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy normally includes a parade and several other MLK Day events organized by the Kansas African American Museum in Wichita.
Screening of Academy Award Short Films
Our Wichita library was one of the first places in the United States to offer screenings of Academy Award-nominated Short Films (aka Oscar Shorts). This has been an annual event in Wichita for more than 30 years! Best of all – it’s free.
Spring Festivals and Annual Events in Wichita
We don’t let unpredictable weather stop us from planning these fun annual spring events in Wichita.
The Society of Women Engineers put on this STEM festival every year for kids. The kids’ Engineering Expo offers high-quality, fun, and educational activities to help kids get interested in science, technology, engineering, and math! Admission is free.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade
You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy historic Delano’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Stake out your spot along Douglas Avenue next March 17th, 2018, and be sure to wear your green!
Wichita Jazz Festival
The Wichita Jazz Festival happens all around Wichita in April and shows off some of the best jazz artists from around the country.
Wichita Blues Crawl
In both spring and fall, Wichitans get to enjoy local, regional, and national blues performers during the Wichita Blues Crawl. One wristband gets you into as many as seven venues in Old Town. It’s a great time! The spring crawl is usually in April each year.
Belle Plaine Tulip Time Festival
The Belle Plaine Tulip Time Festival in April isn’t just about seeing the beautiful blooming tulips. You can spend the weekend soaking up the spring sunshine at the parade, carnival, and food court, or simply stroll through the serene Bartlett Arboretum gardens.
Great Plains Renaissance Festival
Wichita’s Great Plains RenFest is held twice a year – in the spring and fall. You’ll find medieval delights like jousting, folk singing, jesters, falconry, and fried turkey legs bigger than your forearm. These days, the RenFest also now includes the Wichita Highland Games and Celtic Festival, so you’ll get bagpipes and kilts too!
St. Mary’s Mediterranean Festival
St. Mary’s Mediterranean Festival in May is one not to miss. Their annual Festival at St. Mary Orthodox Christian Church offers homemade Mediterranean food, traditional dancing, and the most delicious baked goods you will ever eat (p.s. get the rice pudding).
Art & Book Fair
The Wichita Art Museum’s Art & Book Fair is a Mother’s Day weekend tradition, with FREE admission to see selected art, books, and performances.
Derby Kite Festival
Free family fun with kite flying, DJ entertainment, food vendors and kite vendors? Yes, please! The Derby Kite Festival in May is an annual event with high-flying family fun.
Summer Festivals and Fairs in Wichita
Summer is fun in Wichita with so many affordable and free festivals and fairs!
You don’t want to miss the biggest event of the summer, with live concerts, fireworks, competitions, food vendors, and fun events happening all along the Arkansas River. The Wichita River Festival kicks of in June in downtown Wichita.
ICT Fest is an annual outdoor music festival featuring dozens of local and regional bands in many genres, including noise rock, punk, and electronic. The festival is usually held in early September in one of Wichita’s downtown-area districts.
Two Summer Lavender Festivals
The Prairie Lavender Festival is held mid-June. This lovely summer festival in Bennington has all things lavender and will have live music, farm tours, food/drinks, and children’s activities all for $5 per person.
Take a trip to beautiful Burrton in mid-June for Gertie’s Lavender Festival. Pick your own lavender and enjoy the variety of vendors.
Sedgwick County Fair
The Sedgwick County Fair in Cheney is a classic, All-American event that happens mid-summer each year. The best part? Admission and parking are FREE!
Wichita’s FREE Automobilia Car Show and Street Party happens in downtown Wichita every summer. There will be live music, vendors, food, a swap meet, and a model car contest.
Kansas Wheat Festival
The Kansas Wheat Festival in Wellington has a long-running arts & crafts show, car show, parade, kite festival, and much more, all included in your $5 button.
Dam Music Festival
In what we hope becomes an annual event, the first-ever Dam Music Festival in the summer of 2017 offered two days of live music from national headline acts as well as local and regional musicians. The camping music festival was held at the dam at El Dorado lake. The 2nd annual Dam Music Fest will be July 27-18, 2018, and campers are already making plans…
Wichita Vortex Fest
The Wichita Vortex Fest also debuted in 2017 with live music and urban camping under the stars at Wichita’s most iconic location, the Keeper of the Plains. Activities for the two-day event in August included an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, food trucks, water balloon fights, lawn games, and a midnight movie outside.
Anime Festival Wichita
According to my anime-addicted friend Christina, the success of Wichita’s Anime Fest opened the door for the other local comic conventions. It’s usually held on a weekend near the 4th of July. The 2018 AnimeFest – its 14th annual festival – is scheduled for June 29-July 1.
ICT Comic Con
For true believers, the ICT Comic Con has become a don’t-miss event in August. This affordable event is for fans of comics, gaming, sci-fi, fantasy, horror movies, and more.
Fall Parades, Fairs and Festivals near Wichita
For a full (really full!) list of small-town family fun, check out our complete list of Fall Festivals in the Wichita area. You’ll find more cotton candy, carnivals, and turtle races than you can shake a stick at.
Kansas State Fair
The Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson is the largest in the state, with carnival rides, concerts, and the best fair food around. Although the fair happens in September, the fair concert discounts and ride packages begin being offered as early as July!
Derby BBQ Festival
Make the short trip south to High Park for Derby’s Annual BBQ Festival on September 9th, 2017. Join the fun for a BBQ cook-off and contest, beer garden, live music, car show, and plenty of kid’s activities.
Walnut Valley Festival
The Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield every September showcases bluegrass style music with live performances, as well as an art fair and contests like the “National Flat Pick Guitar Championship” to see who has the best pickin’ skills. Camp out at the Winfield Fairgrounds for all 5 days of the festival, or buy tickets for as many days as you’d like to attend.
Wichita’s interest in trains is growing (and we’re hoping to get an Amtrack stop here soon)! This will be the second year for the Kansas Railfest, hosted by the Great Plains Transportation Museum at Union Station in September.
Autumn and Art at Bradley Fair
Enjoy a stroll down Bradley Fair for Wichita Festivals’ Autumn and Art event in mid-September each year. Admire the art displays and shop from a variety of local and national artists while listening to live music and sipping on drinks available for sale. Kids can participate in arts and crafts activities.
The Great Plains Renaissance Festival has all your medieval fun in one place in both spring and fall. The Fall RenFest is usually held in September each year, just when cooler temperatures make it bearable to wear a full suit of armor.
Wichita Blues Crawl
In both spring and fall, Wichitans get to enjoy local, regional, and national blues performers during the Wichita Blues Crawl. One wristband gets you into as many as seven venues in Old Town. It’s a great time! The fall blues crawl usually happens in September each year.
Urban Arts Festival
The North End Urban Arts Festival features live street art, performers, street food, a beer garden, and an arts & crafts market. The action takes place at NOMAR Marketplace in North Wichita.
Tallgrass Film Festival
The Tallgrass Film Festival happens at theaters around Wichita each October. The festival features 191 short and feature films from around the world, hand-selected by a Wichita volunteer group who seek out the best films. This film festival is a big deal; filmmakers come from around the world to participate.
Wichita Asian Festival
The Wichita Asian Festival in October is a FREE event celebrating Asian culture with live performances, traditional Asian clothing, a pageant, and food from around the world. It all happens downtown at Century II Convention and Exhibition Halls.
Veterans Day Parade
Not to be missed, the Wichita Veterans Day Parade is held in November each year in downtown Wichita. Celebrate with some of our nation’s finest at this fun-filled, FREE parade.
Air Capital ComicCon
Drawing inspiration from the larger national comic conventions, the Air Capital ComicCon provides a welcoming and fun atmosphere and almost 10,000 square feet of vendors, artists and panels for fans of “comic book culture and all things geek.” The annual Air Capital Comic Con is held in November at Century II.