A new festival the first
weekend of the Kansas State Fair will feature the treasures and tourist
attractions found in Kansas communities.
The Explore Kansas Festival — a
showcase of Kansas culture, history, events and attractions — will take place
the first weekend of the Fair, Sept. 7-8, 2019, in Gottschalk Park.
The first-ever festival is a
way to educate fairgoers about Kansas’ many attractions all in one place, said
General Manager Robin Jennison. Visitors will see an interactive display of
Kansas byways, dig for a lost village, learn about one of the nation’s oldest
town picnics and celebrate the upcoming 200th birthday of the Santa Fe Trail.
“The two-day showcase brings
together Kansas communities and attractions, creating a place for the public to
discover our unique treasures,” said Jennison.
A few of the communities
- Erie — Erie is famous for its annual Old Soldiers and Sailors Reunion, which is held during the second full week of July. The reunion features a Free Bean Feed. The beans are prepared using a historic recipe, simmering all day in cast-iron kettles over wood fires — just like soldiers used in the Civil War. This reunion has been conducted continuously since 1873 and is claimed to be the oldest consecutively running Old Soldiers and Sailors Reunion in the country.
- Ark City’s Lost City of Etzanoa — In June 2015, archaeologist Dr. Don Blakeslee led a wide-ranging field study in central and southern Kansas. One of his primary goals was to rediscover the long-lost Native American city of Etzanoa. He was successful. It was in the present location of Arkansas City, Kansas. This site is now available for tours.
- Santa Fe Trail — William Becknell, known as the Father of the Santa Fe Trail, left Missouri for Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1821. More than half the trail runs through Kansas and many remnants of the trail still exist. The Santa Fe Trail was the first international trail between the United States and Mexico. The Santa Fe Trail Association will have a display celebrating the trail's heritage.
“We see the Kansas State Fair
as an important mouthpiece for Kansas Tourism,” Jennison added. “The Explore
Kansas Festival can help visitors find unique cafes, fishing holes, hiking
trails, next summer’s vacation spot, historic sites, natural landmarks, museums,
arts and culture and events — or even a new place to call home.”
The fair has already filled up
one tent for the festival and is working on filling a second location. There
are only a few vacant spots. The community application deadline is Monday, June
10. Space will be filled after that date if available.
To apply for the Explore Kansas
Festival, please visit the Fair’s website by clicking here. For more
information, call Kansas State Fair Director of Marketing Amy Bickel at (620)
669-3624 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.