One hundred fifty fortunate grade and high school youngsters attended the annual Kansas Day Celebration at the Logan City Building on Jan. 27. This celebration is designed to provide students and the public with knowledge about the heritage Kansans all have in common.
More than 20 displays, complete with hands-on activities included period clothing, Native American artifacts, the art of bobbin lace, fur displays, an old-fashioned milk separator, fur harvesters, farm-life reenactments, butter churning, chickens and eggs, storytelling, farm machinery and historical photos and memorabilia from Phillips County’s past.
Long-time participant and one of the key organizers of the Kansas Day event, Doug Zillinger says the Kansas Day Celebration teaches youngsters that the city of Logan and its people have been an important part of the fabric and history of Kansas.
“There’s plenty of history and education represented here today for our young people,” Zillinger says. “After attending one of our Kansas Day Celebrations, you seldom see students who don’t walk away with a greater appreciation of our state’s heritage and a better understanding of our farm and ranching industry.”
In addition, Zillinger believes the youngsters are genuinely happy and excited to be part of the celebration. He’s convinced they should have an opportunity to learn more about and understand their Kansas heritage.
As an example, one of the Farm Bureau displays included a corn sheller, a corn grinder that made corn meal and muffins. As with most of the demonstrations at the Phillips County Farm Bureau Kansas Day Celebration, those attending were able to watch their food move from a raw product out of the field to a finished product warm and ready to eat.
“They see the entire cycle of where our food comes from,” Zillinger says. “This is something most children don’t have an opportunity to see because of our large integrated agricultural system.”
Another integral cog in the agricultural history of Kansas displayed at the Phillips County Kansas Day Celebration was a working cream separator. Students from the schools of Plainville, Phillipsburg and Logan saw firsthand how cream is separated from milk from a cow and churned into butter. Once the butter was churned it was spread directly on home-made biscuits and the students received samples of the tasty treats.
Farmer/stockman Leland Rundle brought his mom and dad’s old International cream separator to the celebration. His early 1950s vintage machine purred like a kitten as it separated the cream from milk.
Rundle told the Phillips County students how extra cream on the farm in those long-ago days was poured into metal cans, hauled to town for grading and then dairy producers like his parents received a check for their product.
“Mom always kept some of the cream for us to pour over fresh peaches and strawberries,” Rundle recalls. “We also poured the wonderful cream on green peas picked right out of our garden. There’s absolutely nothing like this wonderful taste today,” he told the youngsters.
Phillips County resident Janet Gottstine organized the day’s celebration and thanked all the volunteers for their talent, time and energy. Gottstine said that without all of these dedicated folks the Kansas Day Celebration wouldn’t be the success it is each year.
“Our celebration has something for anyone and everyone,” Gottstine says. “I believe the youngsters absorb what interests them from each and every display we feature during our Kansas Day event. I’m so happy we can provide them with an activity that is steeped in our rich, Kansas heritage.”
John Schlageck is a leading commentator on agriculture and rural Kansas. Born and raised on a diversified farm in northwestern Kansas, his writing reflects a lifetime of experience, knowledge and passion.