Get ready to light the candles! The Kansas 150 Festival celebrating the Sunflower State’s sesquicentennial takes place in downtown Wichita, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011.
The festival starts with the “Kansas Sunflower Parade” along Main St. onto Douglas Ave. in front of Century II Performing Arts and Convention Center. Sen. Sam Brownback and Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer will serve as the parade grand marshals and will both be on horseback alongside a cattle drive organized by the Kansas Livestock Association. More than 125 entries from across the state include marching bands from Goodland to Erie, the Mahaffie stagecoach, current and former Miss Kansas pageant winners, a 400-member Wichita JROTC, and a calliope from the American Guild of Organists.
An open-air encampment and fair will be set up on the west side of Century II with booths displaying Kansas-made food, arts and crafts, and community groups. In addition there will be information about the Kansas Historical Society and attractions such as the Kansas Underground Salt Museum and the Schlitterbahn Kansas City Water Park, and various cultural products.
The festival concludes with a special “Kansas: Home on the Range” concert. More than 60 performers will present the state’s history and culture through a combination of songs, poetry and video.
“This is a statewide birthday party celebrating 150 years of statehood,” said Skip Hidlay, co-chair of the Kansas 150 Festival organizing committee. “We’re reaching out to everyone from Oakley to Pittsburgh – Atchison to Liberal.”
Business and civic leaders from across Kansas joined forces to organize the festival and raise financial contributions to pay for the event. The City of Wichita and Go Wichita are jointly handling festival logistics.
Admission is free for the parade and encampment. Tickets for the “Kansas: Home on the Range” concert are $5. For more information about the Kansas 150 Festival, please visit www.ks150.org.