The first week in May is National Travel and Tourism Week, and it is the perfect time to take the opportunity to remind people about all the wonderful events, festivals and sites that can be found in TCT’s service area! Many communities work hard to hold events around various holidays or celebrate what makes their area special. Some towns even have museums and other attractions that are fun to visit. Unfortunately, COVID-19 made it impossible for many communities to host events in 2020. We are hopeful that, as restrictions are lifted, most of these events and festivals will be held again in 2021!
Abilene is a five-star community with a lot to explore! The community maybe best known for the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home but, there are many other attractions, like the Seelye Mansion, the Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad, the C.W. Parker Carousel, and the Great Plains Theatre. Abilene is also home the Greyhound Hall of Fame Museum, and the Dickinson County Heritage Center, which features exhibits about Dickinson County’s famous former residents, from C.L. Brown, whose telephone company eventually became known as Sprint, to Abilene’s former town Marshals Wild Bill Hickok and Joseph McCoy. Do not forget about Old Abilene Town and Chisholm Trail Days or the Big Spur, which is 28 feet high! Abilene also hosts many events throughout the year. For more information about Abilene go to abilenekansas.org.
Alta Vista is home to the Ag Heritage Park, which offers a great collection of memorabilia commemorating early ag life in rural America. The Park also hosts events through the year, including a Spring Crank Up! Tractor Show in April, Corn Picking in September, and Tractor Cruises. You can learn more on their Facebook page @agheritagepark. Alta Vista is also known for Old Settlers Day, which takes place in September. The event features food, games, activities, and live music. You can check the Alta Vista Chamber Facebook page for information @Alta-Vista-Chamber-of-Commerce.
Burdick is famous for their community-wide Labor Day Celebration! This two day celebration has everything from a parade to mutton bustin’ to turtle races, a pie auction, activities for the kids and live music. To find out what is happing with the Burdick Labor Day Celebration visit their Facebook page, @BurdickLaborDayCelebration.
Council Grove is home to many events and festivals, as well as historic sites, museums, trails, and lakes. The community’s most well know event, Washunga Days, takes place in June. To learn more about Washunga Days visit the website, washungadays.com. The Santa Fe Trail 200th Celebration is this year and there will be many events in Council Grove, learn more at santafetrail200.org. There is always something fun to see or do in Council Grove! The best place to learn more about planning you trip is to visit the Council Grove/Morris County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism page at councilgrove.com.
Delavan, on highway 56 is home to the Herington Airport and Industrial Park, which was the site of the Herington Army Airfield (AAF). The airfield was used during World War II by the Army Air Corps as a staging area for overseas deployment of heavy bombers and their crews. These bombers included B-17s, B-24S, and B-29s. Today the site is home to many prosperous businesses but, it is also the home of the Herington Air Base Showdown, which hosts the Herington, KS Drag Races on May 15th. You can find more information on their Facebook page @HeringtonAirBaseShowdown.
Dunlap holds a very important place in Kansas history. In the spring of 1878, Benjamin “Pap” Singleton, a former slave who escaped to freedom in 1846, chose Dunlap as a place to relocate numerous freedmen known as “Exodusters.” In May, the freedmen came by the hundreds from the post-Reconstruction South to seek homesteads in what was called the Singleton Dunlap Farm Colony. People can still visit the site of the African American Cemetery in Dunlap, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Dwight holds Summerfest ever other year. The community is currently making plans to celebrate the event in 2022. Summerfest activities include a parade, food vendors, kid’s activities, live music, and more! Keep up on what is happening at Dwight Summerfest on the City Facebook page @cityofdwight or the website, dwightks.net.
Hillsboro is TCT’s most recent service area community, and there is always something fun to do! Hillsboro’s most well-known event is the Arts & Crafts Fair, scheduled this year on September 18th. The one-day event is nationally recognized and attracts some 300 vendors and over 40,000 visitors! To learn more, visit the website at hillsboroartsandcraftsfair.org. Hillsboro also has many wonderful museums and sites, like the Mennonite Settlement Museum and the Historic William F. Schaeffler House and Grounds. Hillsboro is also close to the Marion Reservoir. For more information, please visit the Chamber of Commerce website, hillsborokschamber.com.
Herington has many interesting sites and offers a lot of local heritage, like the Tri-County Historical Society Museum located in Herington’s Fairgrounds Park and the Railroad Museum, located in a historic baggage car. The Father Padilla Memorial Park features a monument to Juan Padilla, who was killed in 1542 and outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy fishing, boating, camping and excellent picnic facilities at Lake Herington and the Herington Reservoir. You can plan your visit to Herington by visiting the Tri-County Area Chamber of Commerce website at tricountycofc.com. The Tri-County Area Chamber of Commerce is also a great resource for the communities of Burdick, Herington, Hope, Lincolnville, Lost Springs, Ramona, Tampa, White City, and Woodbine.
Hope celebrates the community’s rich heritage each September with the Hope Heritage Festival! The whole town celebrates with food vendors, kid’s activities, a parade, live music & entertainment, and one of the best car shows around! The event is coordinated by the Hope Community Projects Committee. This is the 20th anniversary of the festival, which will fall on September 11th so, this year’s theme- United in Hope – was chosen in honor of the 20th anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks and will pay heed to those that have protected our freedom. To learn more visit Hope Heritage Festival’s Facebook page at @HopeHeritageFestival. Hope is also home to the Hope Community Museum, which is dedicated to preserving the history and culture of the community. The museum is open weekends in the summer and by appointment year round. Learn more by visiting their Facebook page at, @hopecommunitymuseum.
Lincolnville celebrates fall each year with Octoberfest, which is typically held the first weekend in October. The festival offers fun, food, kid’s games, a parade, pumpkin carving & painting, live music & entertainment, a beer garden, a fun run and more! Most events take place in the community building and surrounding park. The committee works hard all year to plan the event and proceeds are donated to local charities. To learn more about the Lincolnville Octoberfest search Facebook for Lincolnville KS Octoberfest. Lincolnville is also part of the Santa Fe Trail 200th Celebration, learn more at santafetrail200.org.
Lost Springs was a popular location on the Santa Fe Trail. Historians will love to visit the city park, which has a red stone marker describing the Santa Fe Trail. Only 2.5 miles west of Lost Springs on 340th Street is the site of the old Lost Spring, a well-known campsite on the Santa Fe trail. There is a marker at the old Lost Spring that reads: WATERING PLACE ON SANTA FE TRAIL 400 FEET NORTH CALLED BY SPANIARDS OLLALA PERDIDA (SWEET SPRINGS) USED FROM 1804 TO 1872.
Ramona has become famous for its 4th of July Celebrations, which includes a parade, food concessions, lawn art, lawn mower races and activities for the entire family! To keep up with what is happening in Ramona visit the Tri-County Area Chamber of Commerce website at tricountycofc.com.
Tampa hosts many events throughout the year, including the Tampa Trail Fest in August. This old fashioned festival is fun for all with a parade, food vendors, car show, kid’s games, face painting, cake walk and live music. Follow the @tampakansas Facebook page to keep up to date on the Tampa Trail Festival, as well as all the cool events the community and Tampa PRIDE sponsor all year long!
White City Independence Day has become an Annual Celebration that people travel from miles around to enjoy! The day includes a parade, vendors, kid’s activities and of course one of the best fireworks shows in the state. The Katy Park and Centennial Park are both points of interest that showcase the rich heritage of this thriving community. Learn more about events happening in White City on the @WhiteCityKS Facebook page.
Wilsey is a small, charming town that offers various community events throughout the year, which are hosted by local Churches and organizations. Bake sales, live music and holiday celebrations are just a few of the fun events happening all year long in Wilsey!
Woodbine community groups host many events during the year, like the 4th of July Fireworks and BBQ, the Lyona Church Ground Hog Supper, and the Lions Club Pancake Feed. The Fall Festival, which includes hay rack rides, kid’s activities, face painting, a cake walk, arm wrestling contests and a parade, has recently become a cherished community event. To learn more about the Fall Festival go to the event’s Facebook page @WoodbineFallFestival. Do not forget to stop by Brigitte’s Country Café, which recently reopened and is once more a favorite regional spot!
The Kansas Flint Hills Quilt Trail is another fun thing to do in the area! Barn Quilts are quilt blocks that are painted on boards to be placed on barns, sheds, outdoor structures, and other historic buildings. Barn Quilts are a blending of the history and the art of quilting, the history and importance of agriculture in our country and the history of communities and homesteads in the rural areas. Learn more by searching Kansas Flint Hills Quilt Trail on Facebook or go to ksflinthillsquilttrail.blogspot.com.
Other fun attractions in the TCT service area: The Flint Hills Trail State Park can be accessed via bicycle or horse and goes thru much of the area. If you would rather see the area by car, the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway offers incredible views of the native grasses and flowers of the tallgrass prairie – one of the last remaining such landscapes left in America. You can find more information about The Flint Hills Trail and the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway at travelks.com.