Hundreds of visitors joined the 2019 Big Kansas Road Trip in Cheyenne, Sherman and Wallace counties.
Along the way, visitors drove through the Arikaree Breaks of Cheyenne County; visited the St. Francis Motorcycle Museum; found Mount Sunflower in Wallace County, the highest point in the state; saw 1,300 wild horses near the Fort Wallace Cemetery; took in a car show in St. Francis; and gawked at the giant Van Gogh sunflower painting in Goodland.
There were tours of a buffalo herd, a bean processing plant, a sunflower oil plant, Hell's Half Acre, a garden, a historic theater and several cemeteries.
Locally owned businesses and cafes were busy as the visitors shopped and ate in the small cities of the region.
All of it was just what the Kansas Sampler Foundation’s director, Marci Penner, and assistant director WenDee Rowe had in mind when they created the event in 2018 after ending the 28-year Kansas Sampler Festival. The foundation has made a mission of working to sustain rural culture and to introduce as many people as possible to the little-known and lesser-traveled parts of the state.
The first Big Kansas Road Trip was held in Barber, Comanche and Kiowa counties.
Penner says that the first road trip drew between 500 and 700 people to the region and the event grew this year.
"The purpose of the BKRT is to provide first-hand experiences with the people and places of rural communities,” Penner says. “All we ask of the communities is to be good at being themselves. If they want to create activities to help the public get to know them, that's great. It's like a big, tri-county open house.”
As the Kansas Explorers met the last day of this year’s event, Penner announced that the 2020 Big Kansas Road Trip will be in Brown, Doniphan and Nemaha counties in northeast Kansas.
The Kansas Sampler Foundation had met in April with representatives from Brown, Doniphan and Nemaha counties to explain what it would take to host the BKRT in 2020. The decision was made to move forward. Representing the region at the announcement were Kylee Luckeroth of Seneca Downtown Impact; Linda Duesing of the Hiawatha Chamber and her husband Wes; and Jerry Kissel of the Shoe Tree, Wetmore.
"We are excited to bring the BKRT to these northeast counties,” Penner says. “From the St. Mary's Church in St. Benedict and the Four-State Lookout in White Cloud to the Davis Memorial in Hiawatha, there are so many historic and geographic points of interest, great veterans memorials, section art in several post offices, Tall Oaks, an antique car collection, the Shoe Tree, small grocery stores, historic barns, beautiful scenic drives and so much more."
Penner and Rowe will be coming to each county to work with the locals in preparation for the event.
The duo co-authored the Kansas Guidebook 2 for Explorers after researching every incorporated city in Kansas.
"We love what these three counties have to offer, " Rowe says, "and [we] know the public will love exploring this area."
For more information, visit bigkansasroadtrip.com.Source: Kansas Sampler Foundation, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.