The Kansas Sampler Foundation announced today that Liberal will be the host for the 2012-2013 Kansas Sampler Festival. The event is designed to provide the public a sample of what there is to see, do, hear, taste, buy, and learn in Kansas.
Along with Liberal, Abilene and Wamego also went through a process that included a preliminary application and a lengthy final application. On August 18 and 19 the Kansas Sampler Foundation staff and board traveled to each city for an interview and site visit.
Foundation director Marci Penner said, "All three cities put their heart and soul into the process. We hope that Abilene and Wamego will apply again because they showed that they also could facilitate a successful festival."
In 1990, several places around the state were invited to the Penner Farm near Inman for a book signing party for Mil and Marci Penner's first Kansas guidebook. The public response was so positive that the event was given a name and became an annual Kansas celebration on the Penner Farm through 1997. Since then it has moved around the state every two years with stops in Pratt, Ottawa, Independence, Newton, Garden City, Concordia, and Leavenworth. The festival will be held for the second year at Ray Miller Park in Leavenworth May 7 and 8, 2011.
The festival will be held in Liberal's Light Park the first full weekend of May in 2012 and 2013. The festival director will be Sally Fuller, director of the Liberal Convention & Visitors Bureau. Fuller said, "Everyone is so excited and so pleased that Liberal will be the next host. One county commissioner said it was better than winning the lottery. People that attend the festival will see that Liberal is a thriving city on the move and they will be amazed at our progress and prosperity."
Each year, over 150 communities are represented under large circus tents or out in the open to help the public plan Kansas day trips and to showcase Kansas entertainers, historic performers, products, food, art, and books. Attendance has ranged from 5,000-8,000.
A Liberal contingent will be present at the 2011 festival in Leavenworth to get one final first-hand view on how the festival is done and to invite the exhibitors and public to come to Liberal in 2012 and 2013.
For more information, go to www.kansassamplerfestival.com.