A 5K Mud Run, Cardboard Boat Regatta and bigger Farm to Fork area will be among the changes at the expanded RiverFest on June 22 at IPFW.
“Every year, we are always looking at how we can make it bigger, how we can make it better,” said Sarah Payne, RiverFest project manager for IPFW. “This year is no exception.”
Event organizers planned to announce details about this year's event at a press conference Tuesday morning at IPFW.
RiverFest, which celebrates use of Fort Wayne's rivers, is open to the public. Admission is free, but a few activities have a fee.
The biggest change — and the one Payne most wants to make people aware of — is most festival activities will be located on the north side of the campus along the St. Joseph River, to the west and south of the Visual Arts Building, Rhinehart Music Center and Williams Theatre.
The relocation results from the scheduled closing of the Anthony Boulevard entrance to the campus off Coliseum Boulevard because of construction work, Payne said. People will have to enter the campus from Crescent Avenue and St. Joe Road, but that will allow for easy free parking in Garages 2 and 3.
The move actually gives the festival more space for events, Payne said, which helps accommodate the expanded lineup this year.
One of the most exciting additions will be the 5K Mud Run, which Payne believes will be the first time this increasingly popular event has been held in northeast Indiana.
Participants will have to run across the swampy inlet of the St. Joseph River that protrudes into campus, crawl up river banks, go down hills, belly crawl through mud and overcome a number of agility challenges, she said.
It will be a little more user-friendly than some mud runs, which use electrified wires to prevent participants from standing up during a belly crawl through mud, she said.
“Ours will be fun, it will be challenging and it will test your agility, but it won't be dangerous,” Payne said.
The Mud Run will be one of the first activities at RiverFest, starting at 8:30 a.m. Entry fee is $50, and you must be ages 16 and older to participate. Pre-register at www.ipfwriverfest.org, or you can register that morning beginning at 7:30 a.m. at Rhinehart Music Center.
The festival also has focused more on health and fitness, Payne said, with new events including a 400-meter Kids Run at 8:45 a.m.; and yoga and zumba fitness at 9 a.m., and a free Fun in Motion area open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. with a bounce house, boat slide and more for ages 5-12. The 400-meter Kids Run kicks off training for the Fort4Fitness organization's Kids Marathon training program.
Payne also is looking forward to RiverFest's first Cardboard Boat Regatta, which gets underway at 10:30 a.m. in the St. Joseph River near the Venderly Family Bridge. Teams must design, build and race a cardboard boat powered by a crew of one to 10 people.
Regatta events will include fastest boat and which boat stays afloat the longest, she said.
“We are really excited about what we will see this year,” she added.
The Farm to Fork area open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. will include a farmers market and vendors selling locally produced products, such as honey. Youngsters also can enjoy a petting zoo, pony rides and farm machinery.
Favorite events returning from previous years include the family-friendly 4K Walk/Run at 9 a.m.; FamilyFest kids activities for ages 7 and younger, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; artist booths, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; and FoodFest, with 20 food vendors, 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Bands will perform 2-11 p.m. on the MusicFest stage.
There also will be a lot of action out on the river, with canoe races at 9 a.m.; free canoe, kayak, paddleboat and pontoon boat rides 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; and a ski and wakeboard show at 8 p.m.
Boat owners are invited to join a flotilla at 9 p.m. Fireworks will light up the sky at 9:45 p.m.
For a complete list of activities, go to www.ipfwriverfest.org.