Thousands of Kansans will come to Concordia's City Park on May 3 and 4 to celebrate all that is Kansas. Over 130 Kansas communities will help the public learn about the architecture, art, commerce, cuisine, customs, geography, history, and people of Kansas at the 19th annual Kansas Sampler Festival.
The primary focus of the event is to help the public plan day trips around the state. The North Central tent that normally has 22 exhibitors has swelled this year to more than 60. Every part of the state is represented from the Flint Hills to Hiawatha in the northeast to Liberal and Goodland in western Kansas to Columbus and Harper County in the southern part of the state.
Kansas musicians and historic performers showcase themselves for hire, food vendors either promote a restaurant or serve a food product made in Kansas or an ethnic recipe. Kansas wineries and one of the microbreweries serve small samples.
In addition, exhibitors in the Kansas Mercantile tent will sell everything from books by Kansas authors to mustard, salsa, jellies, candles, pork, art, and more, all made in Kansas. The biggest Kansas-made products will include a Cobalt boat from Neodesha and 5th wheel rigs from Smith Center and Chanute.
Pamela Young from Haven is bringing her alpacas to entice people to come see more of the friendly animals at her farm. The Abeldt Family Sheep Farm of Hope will feature sheep shearing. Others will show how to spin wool! Mike Cargill of Great Bend's Kansas Raptor Center returns with his popular bird show.
The Kansas Explorers Club tent will instruct people on the basics exploring the state and will be the place to vote for the 8 Wonders of Kansas Architecture. Marci Penner will ask Kansas questions on the Stump.
Attractions outside the festival grounds will also vie for attention as the Nazareth Motherhouse and Brownstone Hall are open for tours. The Cloud County Historical Museum, the National Orphan Train Complex, and the famed Brown Grand Theatre are among local features that will also be open.
The festival is a project of the Inman-based Kansas Sampler Foundation but the main organizing was done by festival co-chairs Susie Haver and Barbara Henry of the Cloud County Tourism office.
WenDee LaPlant, Foundation assistant director said, "The park will be chock full of Kansas. Barns, churches, art, scenic drives, specialty shops, local cafes, events, are all promoted here. It's a guarantee that no one will leave this park without being amazed at all that Kansas has to offer."