June 3–11, 2022Admission June 3–11, 2022Admission

Ambassador of Riverfest 2020 is a longtime Riverfest sponsor and volunteer

March 5, 2020 — WICHITA, Kan.— During a media event and piping-aboard ceremony Wednesday at Shift Auto Society, Clay Bastian was revealed as Admiral Windwagon Smith XLVII, ambassador of Riverfest 2020.
“Riverfest is lucky to have Clay at the helm this year, as our admiral and official ambassador,” said Ty Tabing, president and CEO of Wichita Festivals, the not-for-profit organization that produces Riverfest. “We’re delighted that Kansas’ largest community celebration is honoring Clay for his years of service to Riverfest and to all of Wichita.”

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 47th admiral, and he was introduced at Shift Auto Society, 406 S. Market.

“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. He formerly 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 33rd 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 2020, Bastian will visit children in local hospitals, speak to Wichita civic organizations and help host dozens of events during the nine days of Riverfest, May 29-June 6. He will be assisted by the 2020 Prairie Schooner Mates, who were also present at today’s event. These high school juniors are selected by their schools to be youth representatives for Riverfest.

In addition to revealing the admiral’s identity, Tabing also shared information about Riverfest 2020:
• ICT88 Piano Project sponsored by Star Lumber: An array of artistically-painted pianos will be located around the Riverfest footprint. Festival-goers of all music skill levels are invited to play at whim, to show off their talents, make music, and meet new friends. Cities around the world have done similar installations-called “play me I’m yours” installations–that invite the public to engage with, activate, and take ownership of their urban environment.
•  Factory Obscura: The 2020 Riverfest artist-in-residence, Oklahoma City-based art collective Factory Obscura, will debut their first collaborative experience outside of Oklahoma by creating an interactive sculpture along the river, and an arts curriculum for teachers and students that amplifies the sculpture and connects it to the community. The sculpture will feature two ten-foot-tall creatures connected by an archway resembling a river. At night, the archway will be illuminated with an animated river of light.  Riverfest attendees will be able to stand beneath the arch, flanked by these giant magical river creatures, to take iconic selfies that bring the art to life and provide joy to attendees. 
• A reminder about early-bird button sales, when adult buttons will be available at an early-bird discount price of $7, April 10-May 2 at Meineke Car Care Centers in Wichita, Derby and Hutchinson. Full-price buttons ($10 for adults and $5 for kids 6-12) will be available at QuikTrip beginning May 3.

Here are this year’s Prairie Schooner Mates:

Alexa Aulbach-Campus High School
Jack Byrne-Maize South
Christina Carter-Eisenhower High School
Gloria Catlin-Circle High School
Lashay Crosby-Wichita Heights High School
Dakotah DeFehr-Wichita North High School
Jess Fontes-Valley Center High School
Samantha Garcia-Northeast Magnet
Madison Gulledge-Wichita South High School
Jakob Hansson-Wichita Collegiate School
Christoper Harris-Wichita Southeast High School
Katelyn Hedger-Andover Central High School
Hana Madi-Andover High School
Celine Nguyen-Goddard High School
Jacqueline Nguyen-Kapaun Mt. Carmel
Morgan O’Brien-Maize South
Karina Originales-Wichita West High
Emma Palmer-Derby High School
Aaliyah Shelby-Wichita Northwest High School
Darrell Smith-Sunrise Christian Academy
Silas Stamps-Trinity Academy
Sade Thomas-Wichita Southeast High School
Mitch Waggoner-Maize High School
Halle Wilson-Wichita East High School

New Riverfest sponsors include: Chicken N Pickle, CONCO Construction, Culinary Catering, Delta Dental, Friends University, Kansas Department of Transportation, Kansas Star Casino, McCown Gordon, R & J Liquor, and Thrive Restaurants.

Riverfest 2020 Official Sponsors include: Bud Light, Decker Electric, Metro Courier, PrairieLand Partners, Spot’s Party Bus, Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits, Spectrum Promotional, Sure Sound & Lighting and Visit Wichita.

Wichita Festivals, Inc. is a non-profit corporation with the purpose of creating diverse community celebrations within the Wichita community. The primary events produced by Wichita Festivals, Inc. are Riverfest (May 29-June 6, 2020), Bob Struble Memorial Golf Tournament (September 11, 2020) and Autumn & Art at Bradley Fair (September 18-20, 2020). For more information about Wichita Festivals, Inc. or its events, contact Teri Mott at (316) 267-2817 or teri@wichitafestivals.com.

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