This year’s host city was Leavenworth.
According to the Sampler Foundation’s website, 8,500 people attended, which was a record number of patrons.
So what is the Sampler Festival? Here is what the website says:
“The Kansas Sampler Festival was designed to bring communities and attractions from all over the state together to make it easy for the public to discover day trip possibilities. In other words, the primary purpose of the festival is to provide the public a sample of what there is to see and do in Kansas.”
The first Festival was held outside of Inman in 1990. Only 1,000 people turned out. From there the festival grew until it began traveling around the state in 1998, spending two years in each location.
Next year, the Festival will once again be in Leavenworth on May 7-8, 2011. The year 2011 will be Kansas’ Sesquicentennial, which is a celebration of 150 years since Kansas became a state in 1861.
Here is a photo slide show of the event, courtesy of the Sampler Foundation:
I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Festival last year in Concordia with my good friend Cort Anderson. We had a blast. I wanted to attend again this year, but scheduling conflicts with my mobile dj service prevented me from doing so.
“Local” is the focus of the festival and the Sampler Foundation. Marci Penner and WenDee LaPlant are the leaders of the Foundation, and they push the idea that rural Kansas has as much to offer as anywhere else, so they encourage people to explore their backyards and shop locally because you don’t have to leave the state to find incredible stories or great fun.
You can get all you need locally, and I love that because I love where I grew up, which is in rural Kansas.
The Sampler Festival has a special meaning to me, though. Last year was the start of a running joke that has yet to lose any steam. As I was walking around with Cort, someone asked if he was my dad.
Ever since then, Cort has been my “adopted dad.”
Hopefully “dad” and I can attend next year. I just know I missed out on a ton of fun this year.