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Tampa’s massive Riverfest returns this May, and could attract more than 20,000 attendees

Night time view of downtown with lights and hot air balloons on ground
Photo via Friends of the Tampa Riverwalk

Tampa Riverfest is a sprawling, family-friendly event that spans the entire length of the Tampa Riverwalk. Yes, this event connects 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. The 2024 edition of the event will take place May 3 and May 4.

The 2023 iteration of the event included a new local market in Water Works Park where 30+ local vendors were able to showcase and sell their goods. Overall, the estimated attendance of the 2023 event was 20,000.


Riverfest includes two food-themed events and a local market

The festival typically includes multiple food festivals including the always fun Taste of the Riverwalk.  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 on both nights.  Other activities include a wiener dog derby, sidewalk chalk artists, and a stand-up paddleboard invasion.   

The event’s new vendor market features handcrafted goods, plants, and more. The Riverfest Market was organized by Tampa Bay Markets, a local grassroots organization that curates local markets for the greater Tampa Bay area. 

The 2022 iteration of River Fest introduced the community to the stunning Lantern Parade | Photo via Friends of the Tampa Riverwalk

Live music, dahschund derby, and more set

There is so much to take in during Riverfest. The Wiener Dog Derby, Concert Series, Beer Tents, and more completely activate our waterfront parks. Tampa Riverfest is also partnering with The Florida Wiener Dog Derby as part of the FREE events and activities for Riverfest.


The 2022 iteration of Riverfest launched a new activity, the lantern parade. The Riverfest Lantern Parade is now a new annual event where participants decorate their own paper lanterns and join in on the parade. The parade will start at Water Works Park at 8:30pm and end in Curtis Hixon Park.

Kits are typically made available to the public at Water Works Park the day of the event.

Sample from a variety of local restaurants during Taste of the Riverwalk

Water ski show added to the festivities

One spectacle we hope to see return in 2024 is the Water Ski Show. This was a new kind of entertainment along the Hillsborough River. In 2023, a troupe of water ski performers will take to the Hillsborough River for a show unlike any other.

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

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