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April 18, 2019 – WICHITA, Kan. – Wichita Festivals, Inc., the charitable organization that for 48 years has produced the region’s largest community celebrations, today announced it will seek a new leader, as its president and CEO since November 2012, Mary Beth Jarvis, plans to depart the organization this summer.

“The Wichita Festivals team has done a fantastic job of both stewarding and re-invigorating great traditions in recent years,” said Ty Patton, General Counsel and Auctioneer for McCurdy Auction and Wichita Festivals’ chairman of the board. “Cities around the country have seen their festivals fade away or become so expensive that many can’t participate. But here, marshalled by Wichita Festivals, businesses and organizations band together to support Riverfest and other inclusive community events that help unify us and make our community better.”

In the past six years, Wichita Festivals’ total revenue is up 44 percent, led by Riverfest button revenues increasing by 93 percent and Riverfest cash sponsorships growing by nearly 50 percent. Over this same time period, broad community support has been reflected in event attendance up more than 50 percent, volunteer numbers doubling, and the organization cultivating more than 250 new event partners. This support has helped the organization rebuild reserves to meet future operational and facility needs.

“We are undertaking this search at an exciting time for Festivals and the region,” said Kim Gattis, senior vice president for UMB Private Wealth Management and Wichita Festivals’ incoming board chair, who will head up the search committee for Jarvis’ replacement. “WFI is superbly fulfilling its charitable mission of producing diverse, quality festivals and also serving as a ‘go-to’ resource for activating public spaces and enhancing the community with events. Our next leader will have the chance to continue that work as our city strives to imagine and create a great future for our riverfront and downtown.”

“Leading this organization is an energizing, satisfying privilege,” said Jarvis. “Our next CEO will get to work every day planning exciting events while serving under a dynamic, engaged board and alongside the diverse and dedicated members of our staff and core volunteer force. I believe that new perspectives and ideas have helped WFI stay relevant and succeed over the decades, and this is a chance to bring fresh eyes and talent to this important mission.”

Jarvis will serve through the 2019 Riverfest and help transition to a new leader following the festival. Interested candidates should submit their resume, cover letter and professional references to HR@wichitafestivals.com.

Wichita Festivals, Inc. is a non-profit corporation that works to enhance the region’s quality of life by producing world-class community celebrations. Wichita Festivals organizes Riverfest, which began as the city’s Centennial celebration in 1970 and now attracts more than 450,000 attendees and adds between $25 and $30 million to the local economy each year. Riverfest is among the world’s 40 largest outdoor events, as ranked by PollStar. WFI also produces Autumn & Art at Bradley Fair, a three-day fine art show that has more than 30,000 attendees and features 100 painters, sculptors, photographers and other artists from around the nation. Over the years, Wichita Festivals has also produced the Wichita Vortex Music Festival, grand opening events for the new Eisenhower Airport, the Kansas Flight Festival and the Downtown Chili Cookoff, among others. 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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