Adding a new meaning to taking a scenic tour of central/western Kansas, the first annual June Jaunt will be held June 1-3 to discover the history, science, antique shopping, music, art and food in authentic rural Kansas. "Get your fix on K-96" is the theme.
The tour involves eight city’s, and each community will design and plan its own festivities. The jaunt begins in Ellinwood and continues through Great Bend, Rush Center, Ness City Dighton, Scott City, Leoti and Tribune, following a 136 mile corridor.
"We want people to see what fun Great Bend can be," said Christina Hayes, Great Bend community coordinator. "It’s an exciting event. Most things are free unless someone is putting on a fund raiser.
"What I love about Great Bend is that it’s small enough to run into those people you know, but big enough to meet new people, she said. "Events like the June Jaunt are just one way to experience the fun!"
The K-96 June Jaunters will be encouraged to move from community to community with special traveling activities such as scavenger hunts, geocaching, hidden treasures or community card validations.
Each of the communities will participate in geocaching for a chance to win $500 with the goal to get people from community to community. A full schedule of events will be available in the near future.
The brainchild of Katie Eisenhour, executive director of the Scott County development committee, the June Jaunt has been more than 18 months in development.
"We didn’t want to recreate anything that already exists," said Eisenhour. "It will be an annual event.
"We’ve created something fabulous for all of the cities," she said.
It hasn’t been a simple project for Eisenhour. "The fun thing is selling the vision and getting organizations to step or organize what I can see happening."
"These town are transforming as communities mobilize," she added. "I think it will go off really well."
"It’s a really good opportunity to be in Great Bend," said Hayes. Great Bend will focus on arts.
She said that all kinds of art demonstrations will be shown such as making jewelry, oil painting, sculpture, raku fire art and chalk art. There will be a baseball tournament, a bird house walking tour, and a poker run, and merchants will have specials.
The Great Bend Zoo will also hold events. There will be van tours and a scavenger hunt hosted by the Kansas Wetlands Education Center.
One of the first events at Ellinwood will be a Movie in the Park at Wolf Park with games and snacks, according to Nancy Baird, director of the Ellinwood Chamber of Commerce. There will be an Arts and Antique Market at the American Legion Parking Lot along with sidewalk sales and live music.
Authentic German food will also be available along with home made items.
They will also host an antique car show. Historic tours will be given of the Underground World tunnels.
"This will draw vends from a large area and from out-of-state," said Baird.