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Ellinwood AHF and parade offers full plate of fun for all
Norman Habiger Tractor
Norman Habiger rides a restored 1947 Farmall H Tractor with one of his grandsons in the Ellinwood AHF Parade. The tractor took first place in the Antique Tractor division. - photo by Daniel Kiewel

While early storms put a damper on some Saturday morning events, the rains could not dampen a community’s spirits as the Ellinwood After Harvest Festival made a full return this weekend after a year lost in 2020 due to COVID-19.

The scheduled 5K fun run and fishing derby were casualties of the early morning storms, with the race being canceled and the fishing derby rescheduled for 8 a.m. Sunday morning.

Though the skies remained overcast later in the morning, the rain had mostly cleared the area by 10 a.m. as the AHF Parade “hit the trails” of Ellinwood, celebrating 200th anniversary of the historic Santa Fe Trail which made its way through the area until 1881.

Residents and visitors turned out in droves for the morning parade, which was led by Grand Marshal Rosie Joiner, longtime Ellinwood Rotary Club member and parade coordinator for almost a decade. Now retired, Ellinwood native Joiner’s fellow Rotarians selected her as grand marshal for not only her heavy involvement in the parade and Rotary Club, but also for her tireless volunteer work in countless areas of the community, including the Ellinwood Food Bank, St. Joseph Catholic Church in Ellinwood, the Ellinwood Garden Club, the Ellinwood Chamber of Commerce and Ellinwood Historical Society.

Fifty-five entries rolled down the streets as part of the parade, displaying a colorful and creative array of vehicles and floats.

Several Ellinwood High School graduating classes made their way down the parade route, with several poking fun at their age and at the trials of COVID-19.

The class of 1965, whose float was devoid of class members and displayed simply an empty rocking chair, quipped on their sign, “Still rockin’ - come visit us in front of the mortuary.” This creative display was enough to earn the class of ‘65 top honors in the Class Reunion division of the parade.

Hot on their heels was the class of 2020, who, in taking a shot at COVID-19, noted, “Sorry, the rest of our float has been postponed.”

The class reunions were not the only ones with colorful, head-turning displays. 

An art project on wheels, Rex Rosenberg’s “ChewBaru” took “most original” in the parade with a 1995 Subaru Legacy decorated in dentures, bridges, partials, toothpaste tubes, and photos and illustrations cut from old dental books.

Antique vehicles and implements ranged from a century-old 1921 Ford Model T, which took top honors in the classic vehicle division, all the way up to modern Corvettes driven by the “‘Vettes for Veterans” organization. Top antique honors went to a 1947 Farmall H Tractor restored by Norman Habiger in the tractor division, and a 1940 Chevy 3/4 ton antique pickup in the antique truck division.

Top overall honors went to the Ellinwood Fire Department, whose firefighters cruised the streets in a 1989 pumper truck and a restored 1955 Ellinwood Fire Truck which recently made its way home from Rozel after being sold there in 1989.

...but wait, there’s more!

The parade was only part of the fun that greeted festival-goers of all ages both Friday and Saturday at the After Harvest Festival.

As the clouds gave way to a bright, sunny Saturday afternoon, Ellinwood City Park hopped with visitors, who were greeted by plenty of food, fun, and friendly competition, both two-legged and four-legged, to go around.

Turtle races put on by the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, kids’ pedal tractor pulls and a duck run sponsored by EFD offered friendly competition for kids, while the adult crowd had the chance to compete in arm wrestling, corn hole, and more.

Also available to festival-goers at the park were a bustling food court, a beer garden inflatables and vendors selling a variety of wares, from custom-made cups, to jewelry and more.

The Museum of Ellinwood and the Ellinwood School/Community Library were also open both days, offering visitors a chance to beat the heat with indoor historical and AHF-themed displays.

As daytime turned to evening, both nights offered a chance for visitors to take in live entertainment, with both family-friendly and adult comedy shows. Live bands on both Friday and Saturday nights rocked City Park, while kids of all ages took in the carnival on the park’s north side.

Parade Winners


1st - Ellinwood Fire Department (2 trucks); 2nd - Kan-Equip

Antique or Classic Vehicle:

1st - 1921 Ford Model T; 2nd - Wolf Brewery wagon


1st - Chewbaru (decorated 1995 Subaru Legacy); 2nd - Tent City Crawl

Antique truck:

1st - 1940 Chevy 3/4 ton; 2nd - 1929 Ford Model AA

Antique Tractor:

1st - 1947 Farmall H (Norman Habiger); 2nd - 1957 7350 IH Utility (Monty Widener)


1st - Ellinwood Garden Club “The Little Engine that Could”; 2nd - Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty


1st - Ellinwood District Hospital and Clinic; 2nd - Double-R Weed Control


1st - CP Industries; 2nd - Ellinwood Boy Scout Troop #153

Class Reunion:

1st - Class of 1965; 2nd - Class of 2020


1st - Giddy-up to church; 2nd - Immanuel Lutheran Church, Ellsworth