Representatives from the Great Bend Convention & Visitors Bureau, Ellinwood Chamber of Commerce, Wetlands and Wildlife Byway Steering Committee and Kansas Wetlands Education Center staff joined forces to work booths at the 25th annual Kansas Sampler Festival May 3 and 4 in Wamego. Just over 11,700 people attended the state’s largest outdoor travel show.
The festival is designed to provide the public a sample of what there is to see, do, hear, taste, buy, and learn in Kansas. Exhibits ranged from communities promoting day trip opportunities to entrepreneurs selling their goods. Photographers displayed their work and gave workshops to standing-room only crowds. Pack goats, a replica Longren airplane, and living historical encampments were found among demonstrations of horseshoes, Wicketball, and Kubb, a Swedish lawn game.
“The photo opportunities offered at our booths were a new addition”, said Cris Collier of the Great Bend Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Everyone, including state officials, took time out to have some fun with them. The festival provides great exposure for our communities and region as a whole.”
It isn’t unusual for host cities to experience a doubling or even tripling of population over the Kansas Sampler Festival weekend. Wamego, population 4,485, is the smallest city to have hosted the festival. The 282 exhibits were spread out over the 12-acre Wamego City Park and a nearby ball field.
Foundation director Marci Penner said, “I have no doubt that the 11,728 who attended have a new measure of knowledge and pride about Kansas. This weekend was a really tremendous celebration of our Sunflower State.”
The festival rotates around the state on a two-year basis so will be held in Wamego again next year on May 2 and 3. For more information go to www.kansassamplerfestival.com.