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RiverFest Preview: Wiener-Dog Derby, Hot Air Balloon Glow, Graffiti War & More

There’s a lot to celebrate in the city of Tampa. Our small business renaissance, culinary uprising and arts growth are all achievements worthy of applause. One of the hallmarks of Tampa’s development is the ever-expanding Riverwalk.



Dachshund Derby at Curtis Hixon Park

The annual RiverFest, which takes place May 6 and 7, is a vibrant toast to our meteoric rise as a premier destination to live, work and play. The festivities will include a fireworks display, live entertainment, samplings of the best local food and more. Events will take place along the river, with main activities taking place in Curtis Hixon Park, MacDill Park and around Sail Pavilion.

It all begins on Saturday, May 6, with arguably the most adorable event in the city, the Weiner Dog Derby — a benefit for the Florida Dachshund Rescue. That event runs from 10am until 4pm in Curtis Hixon Park. The derby will be followed by the Best of Tampa Bay Hot Dog Competition.

hotairballoonglow   *Photo via Dania Rodriguez


Hot Air Balloon Glow returns to Riverwalk

Last year, residents were awe-struck by the enormous hot air balloons that sat along the waterfront at Curtis Hixon Park. The floating marvels will again land in the park during RiverFest.

That same day, Cotanchobee Park will host Asia Fest from 10:30am until 2pm. For those who love to traverse the waters of Tampa Bay, Water Works Park will be the site of the Gasparilla Stand-Up Paddleboard Invasion.


Secret Walls and Pops in the Park Bookend the event

Underscoring the family-friendly component of the festivities, the Straz Center will feature a kids of imagination play area. For the adults, the Straz Center will also be home to a secret walls graffiti war competition. RiverFest will culminate in Curtis Hixon Park on Sunday with a free pops in the park performance by The Florida Orchestra, along with a fireworks display.

There will be ample opportunity for residents to enjoy local bites, flights and art throughout the entire weekend. Eboats, Pirate Water Taxi, Tampa Water Bikes and other waterfront gems will be moving in full force during RiverFest to easily connect visitors to all of the amazing events happening on the Riverwalk.


Visit the RiverFest website for a detailed schedule events. You can also follow the Tampa Riverwalk on Facebook for updates on pop-up events occurring at local parks all spring/summer long.


*Header image via Tampa Riverwalk


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