More than 8,500 people attended the 21st annual Kansas Sampler Festival held May 1-2 in Leavenworth despite a brief rain and hail storm on Sunday afternoon. More than 320 exhibitors, entertainers, historic performers, food vendors, entrepreneurs, vintners, microbrewers, artists and authors provided the public a sample of what there is to see, do, hear, taste, drink, and buy throughout Kansas.
Sixteen giant tents were filled with participants from every corner of the state including Liberal, Goodland, Columbus, Medicine Lodge, Scandia, Muscotah and 140 other communities. New to the festival were large tents dedicated to the promotion of Kansas authors, artists, Freedom's Frontier National Heritage area, Leavenworth County and Pottawatomi County. A Kansas wine and beer garden also had a successful debut.
Foundation director Marci Penner said, "The large crowd drew rave reviews from exhibitors as being a very interested audience. The intent of the festival is to increase year-round visitation and business for the exhibitors."
A project of the Inman-based Kansas Sampler Foundation, the festival was hosted by Leavenworth County. Keyta Kelly, Tonganoxie, served as the festival director. Leavenworth Main Street hosted a downtown welcome party on Friday night. The festival will be held again in Leavenworth May 7-8, 2011.