April 1, 2021 — WICHITA, Kan.— The identity of Admiral Windwagon Smith, official ambassador of Riverfest 2021, was revealed today via an original film created by Digital Brand presented on Facebook. Clay Bastian was announced as Admiral Windwagon Smith XLVII—again.
“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.”
Bastian’s previous Admiral Reveal had just taken place in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Nearly all of his speaking engagements, appearances and festival activities were cancelled. The decision was made to extend Bastian’s admiralty through 2021, so he could finally meet and spend time with his adoring public.
A Wichita native, Bastian was born in 1957 at Wesley Hospital, the youngest of three siblings. He graduated from Wichita Collegiate School in 1975 and the University of Kansas in 1979. After graduation, he returned to Wichita to join his family’s business, now called Fidelity Bank, and was the company’s first marketing manager. Bastian retired from Fidelity in 2018, having worked in marketing, real estate, tax management, capital markets financing, and
regulatory liaisons for 38 years.
Bastian’s involvement with Riverfest covers a lot of ground. As a sponsor, he was instrumental in the organization of the Riverbank Jazz concerts presented by Fidelity Bank from 1991 to 1995. He joined the Wichita Festivals, Inc.
Board of Directors in 2008 and served as board chair in 2011. Bastian became a member of the Operations Committee, known as the Red Shirts, in 2012 and continues to serve on many Riverfest committees, including
Riverfest Classic Car Show, Signage, Sundown Parade, Marketplace and STEAM City. “This has been the most meaningful and rewarding community work I have done with a great family of dedicated volunteers,” Bastian said.
The tradition of Admiral Windwagon Smith was established in 1974, when John Bell first wore the red coat during the third Riverfest, then known as Wichitennial River Festival. Bastian is the festival’s 47th admiral.
“When I was young, my family was close to John Bell and his family,” Bastian said. “He was always someone I looked up to. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever be selected to follow in his footsteps, or in the footsteps of any of the other 45 Admirals who succeeded him. Considering all the men and women who have received this honor, I feel profoundly humbled to carry on this tradition.”
A member of the Rotary Club of Wichita since 1985, Bastian served as the club’s president in 2015. He serves on
the board of directors of the Salvation Army of Wichita and in 2007 was the chair of their advisory board. He was
presented with their William Boothe Award for service in 2013. Bastian previously served on the board of directors
of The Wichita Downtown Development Corporation, and as its chair in 2003 and 2004.
The Admiral and his wife, Kate, celebrated their 34th wedding anniversary this year. They have a son, Peter, and a
daughter, Meredith. Bastian is an enthusiast of motorcycles and all powered vehicles, and a fan of jazz and many
other genres of music.
As the official ambassador of Riverfest 2021, Bastian will visit children in local hospitals, speak to Wichita civic
organizations and help host dozens of events during Riverfest. He will be assisted by the 2021 Prairie Schooner
Mates. These high school juniors and seniors are selected by their schools to be youth representatives for Riverfest.
Here are the 2021 Prairie Schooner Mates:
Hana Madi – Andover High School
Katelyn Hedger – Andover Central
Genevieve Cayless – Andover Central
Heidi White – Bishop Carroll Catholic High School
Lilly Taylor – Bishop Carroll Catholic High School
Pariss Lloyd – Campus High School
Savannah Engels – Circle High School
Jakob Hansson – Wichita Collegiate High School
Emma Palmer – Derby High School
Christina Carter – Eisenhower High School
Abi Nelson – Eisenhower High School
Celine Nguyen – Goddard High School
Rylee Croft – Goddard High School
Annalee Kealey – Heights High School
Jacqueline Nguyen – Kapaun Mt. Carmel High
Patrick Olsen – Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School
Bhavini Mahapatro – Maize High School
Alex Koopmann – Maize South High School
Morgan O’Brien – Maize South High School
Dakotah DeFehr – North High School
Samantha Garcia – Northeast Magnet High School
Isabella Torres – Northeast Magnet High School
Alex Butler – Northwest High School
Amy Nguyen – South High School
Madison Gulledge – South High School
Michael Harris – Southeast High School
Alysha Keck – Sunrise Christian Academy
Derek Perry – West High School
Skyler Leland – Valley Center High School
In order to create a safe environment and gradually open the event to the public, Riverfest will be presented in two
extended weekends: June 4-6 and Sept. 30-Oct. 3. The June portion will feature socially distanced events, including
Fidelity Bank River Run, Riverfest Relays, USA Softball, Riverfest Porch Parade, Paddleboard 5K, Riverfest Plein
Air: A Painting Competition, and a virtual Pet Parade. The fall portion of the festival will include traditional
Riverfest favorites: food court, headliner concerts, fireworks, Kids Corner and more. Follow @WichitaRiverFestival
on Facebook and @WichitaRiverfest on Instagram. Registration for June events is open now at
The Admiral Reveal was sponsored by House of Schwan, CONCO Construction, Digital Brand, Tallgrass Film
Association, KMUW and the Wichita Wagonmasters. This year’s Official Marketing Partner of Riverfest is Visit
Wichita Festivals, Inc. is a non-profit corporation with the purpose of creating diverse community celebrations for the Wichita community. The primary events produced by Wichita Festivals, Inc. are Riverfest (June 4-6 and Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2021), Wichita Festivals Golf Tournament in Honor of Bob Struble (September 10, 2021), and Autumn & Art at Bradley Fair (September 17-19, 2021). For more information about Wichita Festivals, Inc. or its events, contact Teri Mott at (316) 267-2817 or