Tampa Riverfest returns with lantern parade, live music, and hot air balloons

Night time view of downtown with lights and hot air balloons on ground

Tampa Riverfest is a sprawling, family-friendly event that will span the entire length of the Tampa Riverwalk. Yes, this event connect the bustle of Tampa Heights to the boom of Water Street. Previous iterations of the event have included multiple stages for live music, a wild fireworks display, glow in the dark hot air balloons, outdoor food halls, and so much more. Tampa Riverfest 2022 will take place May 6, from 4pm-10pm, and May 7 from 10am-10pm.

Friends of the Riverwalk hoped to hold Tampa Riverfest in 2021.  However, following dialogue with event organizers, city leaders and health care experts, we believed it was best to cancel the event this year. This means the organization has had even more time to make this event bigger than it has ever been for 2022.

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Riverfest includes two food-themed events

The festival includes Taste of Riverwalk on Friday night and TacoFest on Saturday.  There is also a full concert series of local bands on the main stage in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and a balloon glow at sunset both nights.  Other activities include a wiener dog derby, sidewalk chalk artists and a stand-up paddleboard invasion.   

Year three of the Tampa Riverwalk’s signature event will be held on Friday, May 6, 2022, in Curtis Hixon Park in Downtown Tampa. There will be a free concert series that begins at 4 pm with beer trucks and activities available that evening.  The Taste of the Riverwalk event will take place within Curtis Hixon Park from 5:30pm-8:30pm. A wristband purchase is required for access to the food tent area.

Live music, dahschund derby, and more set

On Saturday, May 7, from 10am-9pm in Curtis Hixon Park, Tampa Riverfest will be hosting the 3rd Annual TacoFest in Curtis Hixon Park. TacoFest will provide a delicious opportunity to try a variety of tacos and toppings while enjoying all of the other aspects of Riverfest like the Wiener Dog Derby, Concert Series, Beer Tents, and more. Tampa Riverfest is also partnering with The Florida Wiener Dog Derby as part of the FREE events and activities for Riverfest.

2022 Riverfest launches a new activity, the lantern parade. The Riverfest Lantern Parade is an annual event where participants decorate their own paper lanterns and join in on the parade! The parade will start at Water Works Park at 8 PM and end in Curtis Hixon Park. 

Those interested in participating, attending, or vending, can learn more on the official Riverfest website.

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