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Celebrate the community you live in
Donna Krug

As the Labor Day weekend approaches I am reminded about the community of Hoisington which has celebrated Labor Day complete with a parade, carnival, and other activities for 122 years. Nearly every community across the state has some sort of celebration that everyone looks forward to. I’m still getting to know more about the communities in our Cottonwood District and I’m looking forward to getting to know more about each communities’ celebration. After all, developing a greater sense of community is extremely important as we look at the vitality of our communities.

By the time you read this I will have participated in the Watermelon Festival in the small north central Kansas community of Clyde. Our daughter, son-in-law and three kids moved there two years ago, so this was our third Watermelon Festival to participate in. The population of this small community easily triples for the Saturday morning parade. Of course, the free watermelon feed is a big draw as are the Family Day activities and the community BBQ. Events like this are great ways for families at all ages and stages to become engaged in their community.

So, you may be asking “Where are you going with this column?” As I mentioned in my introduction, community vitality is important. K-State Research and Extension has several Community Vitality Specialists located across the state. They are actively meeting with community groups to look at ways to energize and sustain positive community development. We have a Community Development Committee in the Cottonwood Extension District, comprised of six individuals from Ellis County and six from Barton County. Within a couple of months, we will be looking for individuals who have an interest in the vitality of our rural Kansas communities to step up and serve a year or two on our Extension committee. 

The next time you have a chance to participate in a community celebration, I hope you will jump in wholeheartedly. Community celebrations are great opportunities to blend the different cultures and bring people of all ages together. Often time there is great ethnic food and music/entertainment that help us better understand our neighbors.

I would love to hear about your community celebration so please send me an e-mail highlighting those. If you would like to have a K-State Research and Extension Community Vitality Specialist meet with community leaders, feel free to contact me and I will help you make that connection. And finally, if you have an interest in serving on our Community Development Program Development Committee in the Cottonwood Extension District moving forward please give me a call.

Donna Krug is the Family & Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Cottonwood District. Contact her at 620-793-1910 or