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Scenic Byway Communitites to find the best in each other
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The seven communities on the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway will look to find the best in each other and learn more about the amenities that each community offers on March 29 and 30.

The familiarization tour will include four individuals from each community. They will spend one hour in each byway town

The purpose of the "familiarization with the communities is to begin cross-marketing on the Byway," said Janet Crane, Barton County financial officer. For example, she said if one community has a Santa Fe Trail exhibit, when a tourists comes, they can point out Santa Fe Trail exhibits in other communities.

In Ellinwood, the community representatives will visit the Ellinwood Tunnels, Wolf Band Shell, Wolf Statue and the American Legion.

Then in Great Bend, they will take a tour of Santa World, view the Crest Theatre Marque and then go on to Jack Kilby Memorial monument on the west side of the courthouse to see the new songbird habitat. They will talk about the bird house theme and the Raptor Center/Zoo.

After Great Bend, the group will travel to Hoisington and take a self-guided walking tour of downtown Hoisington. The Hoisington Main Street Inc. Welcome Center will have a show of Dr.Dan Witt’s nature photography. Artist Bruce Bitter will be stationed under one of his sculptures, the artwork in the Hoisington Post Office will be interpreted, and the Nature Conservancy and Cheyenne Bottoms will be highlighted. All placards will have background images of serious weather.

The group will meet at the message barrel on Main Street and check out Claflin’s low-tech Facebook, and then stroll through town. At the Cates 94 Store, the group will hear from Barton County Commissioner Don Cates the story of the number 94 in their family’s history, and the other story lines of oil, gas, post rock and the sand prairie.

The next day, the group will travel to Henderson House B & B and Retreat Center in Stafford and sample sand hill plum jelly. Quiviria National Wild Life Refuge Park Ranger Barry Jones will give an introduction to Quivira, visit the Frank Lloyd Wright inspired Methodist Church and see the Stafford County Museum’s Glass Negative Collection.

They will visit the Stafford County Flour Mill and the Wheatland Café for Cinnamon rolls, and hear stories of bicyclists who come off the TransAmerica Trail, then drive by the historic jail.

In St. John, they will tour the Science Museum on the square and the Hall Museum for a Victorian Tea. They will learn about St John’s weather prophecy, and meet Alex, the man the town depends on to keep them safe from tornadoes.