River Tower Festival 2019


A locally famous historic landmark, the Sulphur Springs Water Tower is more than an architectural feature in our urban core; it is a place that lives in the memories of generations of Tampa residents and visitors. The surrounding River Tower Park beautifies the neighborhood and has become a gathering spot for the community to engage with each other and with the natural beauty of our city.

The iconic tower has not seen a significant renovation since it was painted 30 years ago. After the City of Tampa purchased the tower, they added lights to the base. In addition to restoring the tower, the park needs love, too. Our urban communities are organized to ensure that the tower and park stand vibrantly for generations to come.


At a stunning 214 feet, the Sulphur Springs Water Tower has been a part of Tampa’s history since 1927. Josiah Richardson commissioned the tower as part of his development of “Mave’s Arcade,” which included the Sulphur Springs Hotel, apartments, and indoor shopping. Ripley’s Believe it or Not called the Arcade “a city under one roof” and named it the first indoor mall. The tower supplied drinking water to the area until 1933 when the TECO dam break flooded Sulphur Springs, destroying the Arcade and, effectively, destroying the area as a vacation destination.

In 1971, the city became the area’s main water supplier, and the tower was no longer used. Time and abandonment took their toll, and the tower deteriorated from the elements, bird droppings, and graffiti. In 1989, the Service Painting Corporation repainted the tower with paint donated by Sherwin-Williams.

It is now 2019 and we have come to love our iconic tower which serves as a major landmark for our city. River Tower Festival honors Sulphur Springs Water Tower and River Tower Park.


The River Tower Festival provides an enduring non-profit fundraising stream to maintain the Sulphur Springs Water Tower and River Tower Park. The festival is set in the beautiful riverfront green space of River Tower Park where the tower stands.

The festival features talented musicians across a variety of genres, local visual artists, food and goods vendors, family-friendly moments, and an important cause: protecting and preserving the historic Sulphur Springs Water Tower and River Tower Park through renovation and enhancement.

Planned Date: November 16, 2019
Planned Time: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Estimated Attendees: 2,500

In addition to the festival itself, other River Tower Festival events are being planned to generate interest and additional funds for ongoing tower and park restoration and preservation. The event will take place in River Tower Park so that everyone can see the progress and beautification of the tower and park.


Once you are ready to make a positive and indelible impact on your community, the rest is easy!

For information on how to volunteer or to sponsor the festival click here or contact the committee:

Via email: PreserveOurTower@gmail.com

Via phone: Keith Malson, (813) 928-3174
Debi Johnson, (813) 230-3517

If you would like to make a private donation you can do that here.

4 thoughts on “River Tower Festival 2019

  1. Nathaniel j meyer says:

    Sounds like a great event. I’m looking into how I can volunteer. That event flyer is amazing. Will that be available for purchase in some way? Maybe on a t-shirt, poster, or sticker?

    1. Tim Keeports says:

      Nate – as you can imagine as volunteers, we were a bit overwhelmed with the responses to the festival. Thank you for your interest and note we will be doing the event again next year.

  2. I am interested in joining the efforts of this project. I can supply art with the tower as a focus. Please consider ad I live near andam excited about this. Good cause good music great place too thanks Bruce Ferguson

    1. Tim Keeports says:

      Bruce – as you can imagine as volunteers, we were a bit overwhelmed with the responses to the festival. Thank you for your interest and note we will be doing the event again next year.

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