Tampa Riverfest is back! Here’s what you can expect and what’s new for 2024 cover

Tampa Riverfest is Back for 2024! Here’s What to Expect All Weekend Long.

One of Tampa’s biggest events, Tampa Riverfest, is back!

The popular event is produced by the non-profit, Friends of the Riverwalk, and kicks off on Friday, May 3rd and continues through Saturday, May 4th. Taking place along the Riverwalk, there will be tons of family-friendly events showcasing Tampa’s cultural institutions, local music, and restaurants.

Keep reading for all the details on what to eat, what to do, and more!

The Food at Tampa Riverfest

Friday night, May 3, at Riverfest kicks off with a night of live music, beer tents and food trucks at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Snag a wristband for Taste of the Riverwalk on Friday night from 5:30 – 9pm. $15 gets you three samples, and $20 gets you five from participating restaurants.

The 4th annual TacoFest will take place from 11 am-9:30 pm on Saturday, May 4. Savor different varieties of tacos and toppings while enjoying all the other events that Riverfest has to offer.

You can purchase wristbands for 3 tacos ($15) or 5 tacos ($20). Pre-sale pricing is limited and a menu will be coming soon!

Tampa Riverfest is Back for 2024! Here's What to Expect All Weekend Long.
Image Credit: Tampa Riverfest

If you really want to splurge ($75 for Friday, $100 for Saturday or $150 for the whole weekend), a VIP Pass gets you complimentary beer, soda, water and cocktails, light food, front row access to the concert and access to executive restrooms. Friday’s VIP passes also includes a wristband for Taste of the Riverwalk.

The VIP tent is open from 5 pm-10 pm on Friday and Saturday.

The Events at Tampa Riverfest

Throughout the weekend, there will be tons of fun events to check out! On Friday and Saturday nights, Curtis Hixon Park will light up with the Hot Air Balloon Glow. This signature Riverfest event will kick off at 8:30pm both nights.

Tampa Riverfest is Back for 2024! Here's What to Expect All Weekend Long.
Image Credit: Tampa Riverwalk

Paddle Invasion & Yoga

On Saturday morning, head over to Water Works Park for a Paddle Invasion in partnership with Urban Kai. Races will begin at 8:30am and racers can choose to race on a long (6 mile) or short (2 mile) course as they compete for awards.

Following the Paddle Invasion, you can get your zen on with Yoga in the Park at 9am. This donation-based class is for all levels.

Wiener Dog Derby

Ready for the cutest race in town? A Tampa Riverfest favorite is the Weiner Dog Derby, which will take place staring at 11 am on Saturday, May 4. This fun event pits the cutest dachshunds in town against each other in races all day long.

One of the largest Dachshund gatherings in the state, the festivities will include games, raffles, foster dogs and a silent art auction. To register your dog to race, click here.

Tampa Riverfest is Back for 2024! Here's What to Expect All Weekend Long.
Image Credit: Tampa Riverwalk

There will also be tons of live music throughout the event. A full concert series will feature bands and a D.J. that will entertain the crowd on the main stage at Curtis Hixon Park both Friday and Saturday.

2024 concert lineup is still TBD.

Water Ski Show

NEW! This all-new water ski show will feature the Tampa Bay Water Ski Show team. The show will take place in front of Water Works Park along the Hillsborough River on Saturday, May 4 at 4 pm.

Riverfest Market

Riverfest Market by Tampa Bay Markets will feature a host of independent vendors at Water Works Park on Saturday, May 4 from 11 am-4 pm. Guests can enjoy local vendors including handcrafted goods, plants and more. While you shop and stroll, enjoy the music on the Water Works Park Stage and several delicious food trucks to choose from!

Riverfest Lantern Parade

The Riverfest Lantern Parade allows participants to decorate their own paper lanterns and join a 1-mile parade that illuminates the Riverwalk! The parade will start at Water Works Park at 8:30 PM and end in Curtis Hixon Park. You can bring your own or buy one of their lantern kits ahead of time or for sale the day of the event from 6 pm-8 pm.

Kits available:

  • Manatee Kit – $25
  • Sea Turtle Kit – $25
  • Basic Kit – $20

All kits purchased in advance to be picked up at the Unlock Tampa Bay Visitor Center at 201 N. Franklin St., #102, Tampa.

Tampa Riverfest is Back for 2024! Here's What to Expect All Weekend Long.
Image Credit: Tampa Riverfest

Parking and Transportation

Since the Tampa Riverwalk spans all of downtown Tampa, there are plenty of parking options depending on which end of the Riverwalk you’d like to be on.

While you can always hunt for street parking, during a special event like Tampa Riverfest, you may find it easiest to park in a city garage and walk a few blocks to the Riverwalk. Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is located at 600 N. Ashley Drive. The William F. Poe and Fort Brooke garages are the closest.

If that sounds like too much trouble, consider using a rideshare service or Coast Bike Share. The TECO Streetcar (which is free by the way!) runs from Ybor City to downtown Tampa. Once you’re at the Riverwalk, Pirate Water Taxi runs right along the Riverwalk with plenty of stops along the way. Check out the Riverwalk’s full transportation details here.

Be sure to follow Tampa Riverfest on Facebook for 2024 updates and more.

Looking for more family-friendly weekend fun? Check out our top picks of things to do in Tampa Bay!