• Special to the Daily Leader
The 20th annual Kansas Sampler Festival in Concordia’s city park came to a close just before the rain started. Local festival director Susie Haver reported that more than five thousand people attended the May 2-3 event.
Liberal was one of 135 communities promoting Kansas day trips, entertainment, food, products, and historical performances.
Representing Liberal Convention and Visitors Bureau were director Sally Fuller and JoAnn Combs.
“Liberal has been represented at almost all of the Kansas Sampler Festivals by either CVB or Chamber of Commerce representatives,”
Fuller said. “We tell people about what there is to do in Liberal, hand out information and make silver dollar size pancakes to give people a ‘sample’ of International Pancake Day.”
A project of the Kansas Sampler Foundation, director Marci Penner said, “Communities represented at the festival are on the map and on the minds of 5,000 people because of the volunteers who work the festival. It’s hard work, but 135 communities will have more traffic this summer because of these people. They do a tremendous job in collectively telling the Kansas story.”
Concordia, population 5,171, was the smallest city and the first community north of I-70 to host the event. Every motel room in the city was taken and area restaurants were busy with exhibitors.
Festival-goers had the opportunity to take shuttles to visit the Orphan Train Museum, the Brown Grand Theatre, the Nazareth Motherhouse and other downtown attractions.
Local festival directors were Susie Haver and Tammy Britt of Cloud County Tourism. WenDee LaPlant is the foundation’s festival coordinator.
“Because the festival changes locations every third year, we get a chance to promote Liberal to a whole new group of people,” Fuller said. “There are some festival followers who come every year, but there are also a lot of attendees who have never attended, and it is a great opportunity to educate them about Kansas communities.”
Leavenworth County will be the host for the 2010 and 2011 events.