Tampa Riverfest returns this summer. Here's what to expect

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – This summer, downtown Tampa will be transformed into a family-friendly event that’ll span across the entire length of the Tampa Riverwalk for the seventh year in a row.

The festival, which is free to guests, will be packed with activities for the whole family to enjoy, including a RiverFiesta. The RiverFiesta is a food-focused tent with delicious tacos, bowls, and nachos set up in Curtis Hixon Park.

A Riverfest Market will also be available for guests to check out. The market will feature a variety of independent vendors at Water Works Park.

On Monday, Friends of the Riverwalk announced that the Riverfest Lantern Parade will also be returning this year. During the festival, attendees will have the opportunity to design their own colorful lighted lanterns and participate in the parade route.

The fun-filled Tampa Riverfest 2023 will kick off on Friday, May 5, and continue on Saturday, May 6.

“Riverfest is a celebration of our Riverwalk and what it means to our community,” David DeVaney, Friends of the Riverwalk Board Chairman said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to offer such a wide range of activities for festival goers of all ages to experience.  Friends of the Riverwalk is committed to hosting first class, free public events along the Riverwalk for all of Tampa Bay to enjoy.”   

All events and entertainment at Riverfest are free and open to the public. Taste of the Riverwalk and RiverFiesta require a wristband purchase for food sampling. Wristbands for the events will be available for purchase in advance online starting on March 10.

Wristbands are $15 for three items and $20 for five items. Guests can purchase wristbands here. Online food sales will end 24 hours before the start of Riverfest. If not sold out, wristbands will be available at the event.  

VIP tickets also include a wristband for five Taste of the Riverwalk samples. Tickets are day specific and cost $75 for Friday night, $100 for Saturday, or $150 for both days and will also be available for purchase on March 10 here. 

Schedule of events for Friday, May 5, at Curtis Hixon Park:

  • Live music: 5 to 10 p.m.
  • Beer tents: 5 to 10 p.m.
  • Food trucks: 5 to 10 p.m.
  • VIP tent (wristband required, 21+ only): 5 to 10 p.m.
  • Taste of the Riverwalk: 5:30 to 9 p.m.
  • Hot Air Balloon Glow (weather permitting): 8:30 to 9 p.m.
  • Closing Headliner Band (Tribute to Journey): 8 to 10 p.m.

Schedule of events for Saturday, May 6, at Curtis Hixon Park:

  • Yoga on the lawn: 9 to 10 a.m.
  • Live music: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Wiener dog derby: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Beer tents: 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
  • Food trucks: 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
  • RiverFiesta: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
  • VIP tent (wristband required, 21+ only): 4 to 10:30 p.m.
  • Hot Air Balloon Glow (weather permitting): 8:30 to 9 p.m.
  • Closing Headliner Band (Tribute to Queen): 9 to 10:30 p.m.

Schedule of events for Saturday, May 6, at Water Works Park:

  • Urban Kai Paddle Invasion & Races: 8:30 a.m. and 8:45 a.m.
  • Hillsborough County Schools music performances: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Food trucks: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Beer tents: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Lantern Workshops: 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Tampa Bay Pride Band spring concert: 6:30 to 8 p.m.
  • Riverfest Lantern Parade: 8:30 p.m.

For more information on the 2023 Tampa Riverfest, visit here.

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