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Tampa Riverfest is back with Wiener Dog Derby, TacoFest, Hot Air Balloons and more

Posted at 5:01 PM, Apr 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-03 14:34:27-04

TAMPA, Fla. - It’s time for the fourth annual celebration of Tampa’s Riverwalk!

With exciting activities, live entertainment and food festivals throughout the 2-day party, the 2018 Tampa Riverfest will certainly deliver the sights and sounds of downtown Tampa.

So what can you expect this year? 

Taste of the Riverwalk will showcase a variety of signature local dining options on Friday, May 4. Also on Friday, the Tampa Museum of Art will offer free tours at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. along with a 50 percent discount on admission.

Related: Catch up! Wiener dogs mustard the strength for the 2017 Wiener Dog Derby

TacoFest celebrates Cinco de Mayo on Saturday, May 5. A large tent will be set up at Curtis Hixon Park offering a wide selection of tacos for purchase. The day’s festivities kick off at 10 a.m. with the Florida Wiener Dog Derby, back by popular demand for a second-straight year. Dogs compete in a running race and there are other contests for best kisser, best costume and the ever popular tail wagging.

Additional afternoon activities on Saturday include a full concert series of local bands on the main stage at Curtis Hixon Park, the Gasparilla Stand-up Paddle Board Invasion, Tampa Bay Pride Band Concert in Water Works Park and music students from several Hillsborough Country schools perform in MacDill Park. 

Photos: Wiener dogs race their buns off for the 2017 Florida Wiener Dog Derby

When the sun sets on Saturday night, Curtis Hixon Park will light up with Riverfest’s signature event, the hugely popular Hot Air Balloon Glow, which begins at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday.

This year’s event also includes full concert series featuring seven bands that will entertain the crowd on the main stage at Curtis Hixon Park. Headliners The Black Honkeys and The Spazmatics perform on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

All events and entertainment at Riverfest are free and open to the public. Taste of the Riverwalk and TacoFest require a wristband purchase for food sampling. 

Taste of the Riverwalk wristbands are available in advance for $25 online or can be purchased at the event for $39. Admission to a VIP tent offering complimentary beer, Tito’s Handmade Vodka cocktails, food, and front row access to the mainstage are also available for $50. 

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TacoFest pricing is 3 tacos for $10 or 5 tacos for $15. For more information, or to purchase VIP tickets and wristbands, visit 

Click here for the entire list of events.