Sat. Dec 2nd, 2023

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – With a plan for the return of Wichita’s biggest party comes the official announcement of the event’s official ambassador. Wichita Festivals Inc. identified Clay Bastian, a retired banker and active community member, the Admiral Windwagon Smith XLVII (47) for the 2021 Wichita Riverfest. With last year’s even canceled due to COVID-19, Bastian is the first Admiral Windwagon Smith to serve two terms.

“I can’t think of a nicer guy to represent Riverfest twice,” said Ann Keefer, interim president/CEO of Wichita Festivals, the not-for-profit organization that produces Riverfest. “Clay has a long history with the festival, and it’s only fair he get a shot at a somewhat normal Riverfest season.”

A Wichita native, Bastian returned to his home city after graduating from the University of Kansas in 1979. He joined his family’s business, now called Fidelity Bank, and was the company’s first marketing manager, Wichita Festivals, Inc. said in a news release announcing Bastian’s selection with the Riverfest. Bastian retired from Fidelity in 2018 having worked a number of jobs with the bank including marketing, real estate, tax management, capital markets financing, and regulatory liaisons.

Wichita Festivals, Inc. said his involvement with Riverfest “covers a lot of ground.” This includes helping to organize the Riverbank jazz concerts in the 1990s and joining the Wichita Festivals, Inc. Board of Directors in 2008, then serving as board chair in 2011. In 2012, he became a member of the Operations Committee known as the Red Shirts and continues to serve on many Riverfest committees. Bastian said the involvement “has been the most meaningful and rewarding community work “(he has) done with a great family of dedicated volunteers.”

Bastian has also been a member of the Rotary Club of Wichita since 1985 and serves on the board of directors of the Salvation Army of Wichita.

As the official ambassador of Riverfest 2021, Wichita Festivals, Inc. said Bastian will visit children in local hospitals, speak to Wichita civic organizations and help host events during Riverfest.

Instead of nine days of activities, Riverfest 2021 will be split into two weekends in the summer and the fall.

June 4-6 will feature mostly participatory events, including the Fidelity Bank River Run on Saturday, June 5, a Riverfest triathlon on Sunday, Paddle Board 5K and other river races, USA Softball tournaments, and a plein air painting festival throughout the weekend.

The festival food court, headliner concerts, fireworks, iconic kids’ events and the Sundown Parade will all be featured during the second half of Riverfest, scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 3.

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By senior