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Photo of a raft decorated like a dinosaur
Decorated rafts float down the Arkansas River in the ever-popular Saturday morning raft race, 1992

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Wichita River Festival
A Local Legacy

Have you ever seen a bathtub race or a dinosaur raft? If you are in Wichita, Kansas, during the River Festival in May, you will have your chance. Every year Wichita celebrates with a 10-day-long party, which was first held in 1972. In addition to the raft and bathtub events, the festival features live entertainment, cook-offs, and a fishing derby.

The Antique Bathtub Race, an event that is even recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records, features antique tubs, mounted on flotation platforms, all racing across water for the top trophy -- a gold-plated bathtub. In the early days of the race, some of the tubs never made it to the finish line. Some people suspect that there are still a few tubs at the bottom of the Arkansas River!

During the Saturday morning raft race, decorated rafts float down the winding Arkansas River, their occupants spraying the spectators with river water. Besides the dinosaur raft, there have been race car rafts, a Snoopy raft and a Dumbo raft. If you were to enter a rafting contest, what would your raft look like?

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