The Kansas Sampler Foundation announced that Wamego will be the host for the 2014-2015 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.
Foundation director Marci Penner said, "We are so excited to bring the festival to Wamego's picturesque city park. Though Wamego will be the smallest town to ever host this event, we know that other towns in Pottawatomie County will be there to assist."
Wamego went through an 8-month process including a preliminary application, final application, site visit and interview before being designated as the ninth community to host the festival. The only event of its kind in the Midwest, the festival will take place the first weekend of May each year in the Wamego city park and the ballfields just to the east of the park.
With support from the City of Wamego, Pottawatomie County Economic Development, and the Wamego Convention & Visitors Bureau, the application process was completed by a core team led by Julie Roller, Michelle Crisler, Bunny McCloud, and Betsy Riblett.
"We are very proud to be selected as the host for the 2014-2015 Kansas Sampler Festival; this is something we've been working on for several years. From starting with hosting our first Pottawatomie County tent at the Kansas Sampler Festival in Leavenworth, to completing the final application, our efforts have paid off and now the real work begins!" Julie Roller said. "We look forward to hosting communities, entertainers, attractions and visitors from across the state and showing them all Kansas has to offer."
The festival started as an open house for Mil and Marci Penner's first Kansas guidebook in 1990. Several places in the guidebook were invited to set up booths at the Penner Farm near Inman. The public response was so positive that the event was given a name, the Kansas Sampler Festival, and became an annual Kansas gathering. Eight thousand people attended in 1997, the final year the Kansas showcase was held on the farm.
Since then it has moved around the state every two years with stops in Pratt, Ottawa, Independence, Newton, Garden City, Concordia, and Leavenworth. Liberal will be in charge of the festival for a second year in 2013 when the festival takes place on May 4 and 5 in Light Park.
Each year, approximately 150 communities are represented under large festival tents 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.
For more information, go to www.kansassamplerfestival.com.