Wichita River Festival

“Keep Your SPLASH in the River Clean” was this year’s motto for Southwind Group’s entry in the 35th Annual Wichita River Festival parade.  Southwind’s float utilized the river festival’s theme “Big Splash” and integrated a super hero theme into the choreography of the participants and built a spectacular float featuring a flowing river.  It was announced to 85,000 parade attendees, with the Batman Theme playing in the background, that Sierra Club – Southwind Group floats in with a BIG SPLASH covering Wichita and the surrounding area promoting their mission: TO ENJOY B TO EXPLORE & TO PROTECT the wild places of our Earth.  Super hero, Captain Sierra Club (played by Charles Benjamin”) is leading the float with his weapon called AThe Big Splash@ soaking B splashing and zapping the pollution in our river.  Captain Sierra Club=s helpers were wearing green t-shirts and masks and were walking along with their super powered splash guns ready to  protect the river from the polluters which were dressed in black t-shirts and masks carrying trash ready to pollute.  Creating ASierra Club=s River Splash@ was Janica White riding the waves in her kayak.

A special thanks to Lyle Kaufmann for the loan of his trailer, to Julia Gardner for towing the float with her vehicle as the beautiful green “Sierra Club Mobile” which came equipped with a green mask on the grill, to Tom Middlestat and the folks at The Design Center for designing the letters for the banners and hand held signs and for the loan of boulders and pool and to Mark with Signs & Designs for producing the banner and hand held signs.  And a special thanks to Yvonne Cather for organizing and being the leader of this event, to Stuart Bolt for all of his hard work behind the scenes and the super hero theme, to Frank Akerman and his friend Jeff Bennett for the design and sketch of the float, to Frank Akerman and Charles Smith for building the frame of the float, to Lisa Heiserman and Janet Lott for last minute preparation, to Charles Benjamin for so graciously being our super hero for this event and to Janica White for her eloquent technique in her kayak.  Other players in this event were Don and Ellie Skokan, Dave and Mary Kirkbride, Eric Haney, Ben Huie, Karin Cowdrey, Aiko Allen, John Hoving, Bobbie and Bill Keltner, Taylor and Montana Gardner, Stephanie Owens, Bill Cather and grandson Charles Cather, Christine Shively and Morris Ducamis.  Photos provided by Yvonne Cather – Group Photos (left to right) Don Skokan, Bobbie Keltner, Ellie Skokan, Mary Kirkbride, Ben Huie, Maurice “Duke” Ducommun, Aiko Allen, Bill Cather, Karin Cowdrey, John Hoving, and Charles Benjamin.


Dave Kirkbride will send his photos under a separate cover.

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