2B: White River Festival
As the defining natural resource in Central Indiana, a festival celebrating the White River can connect residents and visitors alike with this important waterway. The existing White River Festival, put on by the White River Alliance, should be supported and expanded to become a signature annual event for Indy. This event can include events large and small at anchor attractions and neighborhood destinations along the river, providing a wide array of experiences and activities to enjoy. The festival should strive to create long-term stewards of the river through these experiences which would provide positive memories and a greater understanding in the value of this community asset.
Value to the CommunityThe White River is lined by an abundance of public parks, making it the centerpiece of many residents’ recreational and community experiences. Because the river flows through neighborhoods of all types, it provides a perfect platform for sharing how individual neighborhood stories contribute to the larger city narrative.
Value to the Hospitality IndustryAs the White River Vision Plan notes, the White River connects more than 14,000 acres of parks, open spaces, and cultural amenities, making it collectively an experience on the scale of a smaller national park. A festival tied to outdoor recreation can easily entice visitors from all over the Midwest.
- July 2021. White River Art Canoes. After cancellation in 2020 due to COVID-19, a public art project of 10 canoes painted by local artists along the river will serve as a COVID-friendly standin for the festival. Storytelling events at several of the locations are also included.
- September 2019. Dragon Boat Races. In 2019 the White River Alliance held its second annual Dragon Boat races as part of its annual White River Festival. Such races for the 2020 and 2021 festivals were cancelled due to COVID19.