First annual Riverfest to activate Riverwalk with activities and events

First annual Riverfest to activate Riverwalk with activities and events (Image 1)

The entire length of the Tampa Riverwalk running from historic Tampa Heights through downtown Tampa to the Channel District will feature family-friendly activities and events on Saturday, May 2, 2015 and Sunday, May 3, 2015 with the Mayor’s Mac n’ Cheese Throwdown anchoring the weekend events. This free, annual event presented by Friends of the Riverwalk in conjunction with the City of Tampa, will attract people to the Riverwalk and highlight Tampa’s cultural institutions, local music and restaurants.

“All of the pieces are in place for us to finally be able to truly take advantage of our riverfront – the cultural assets, the parks and public spaces, and of course, the Riverwalk that connects it all. Riverfest is more than a weekend of events and activities; it’s a celebration of the transformation of our downtown and our best natural asset, the Hillsborough River,” said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “Mac and cheese is comfort food at its best, and I’m looking forward to seeing what our local eateries will cook up for the Throwdown this year.”

There will be events and activities throughout the weekend at all six parks lining the Tampa Riverwalk. In addition, the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa Convention Center, and Florida Aquarium will also host events. The Tampa Museum of Art, Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, and Tampa Bay History Center (children only) will all feature free admission on Saturday, May 2, 2015.

The Mayor’s Mac n’ Cheese Throwdown returns to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park again, and will anchor the events on Saturday. Mac n’ cheese tasting will be available from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., as supplies last, followed by the RiverFest concert, which will kick-off with headliner G. Love & Special Sauce beginning at 7 p.m. The evening’s festivities will culminate with fireworks at 10:30 p.m.

“The opening of Kennedy Plaza has been a game changer for the Riverwalk, connecting the cultural assets, the parks and public spaces along the waterfront. RiverFest is the first opportunity to celebrate Tampa’s new Riverwalk,” said Shaun Drinkard, Executive Director of Friends of the Riverwalk.

The event serves as a fundraising program for Friends of the Riverwalk, a local nonprofit that works to improve and enhance the Tampa Riverwalk in a variety of ways, including events, programming and activation.

The events and entertainment are free and open to the public. Vendor items will be available for purchase.

A full list of events is below. For more information, please visit

Water Works Park, Historic Tampa Heights

Saturday– Jazz on the Riverwalk (11 a.m. -4 p.m.)

Straz Center, Downtown Tampa

Saturday / Sunday – String Theory’s Fin Harp (11:30 a.m. -5p.m.)

Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, Downtown Tampa

Saturday – Mayor’s Mac & Cheese Throwdown (4 p.m. -11 p.m.)

Saturday – Tampa Museum of Art: Day of Poseidon & FREE admission

Saturday – Florida Museum of Photographic Arts: FREE admission

Sunday – Bloody Mary Festival presented by Big City Events (11 a.m. -4 p.m.)

Kennedy Plaza, Downtown Tampa

Saturday / Sunday – Roaming musicians, artist and food vendors

MacDill Park, Downtown Tampa

Saturday – Big Brothers Big Sisters Day Out with free children’s activities (9 a.m.- 5 p.m.)

Saturday – Hillsborough County School System Stage featuring artists from 43 local schools

Saturday / Sunday – The Plank “pop-up bar” returns

USF / Anchor Park, Downtown Tampa

Saturday – Hillsborough County School System Stage featuring artists from 43 local schools

Saturday – ASPCA Activities (9 a.m.-2 p.m.)

Tampa Convention Center & Sail Pavilion, Downtown Tampa

Saturday – Tampa Bay Sports Commission Paddle Board Competition (TBD)

Cotanchobee Park, Downtown Tampa

Saturday / Sunday – RiverFest Downtown Carnival presented by Big City Events (10 a.m.-10 p.m. & 10 a.m.-6 p.m.)

Saturday – Tampa Bay History Center: FREE children’s admission

Florida Aquarium, Channel District

Saturday – The Penguin Waddle (8 a.m.)

Sunday – Cigar City River Run (10 a.m.) provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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