Saturday, October 8, 2011
The "Kansas 150 Festival" happened on Saturday, about nine months after the state celebrated statehood on Jan. 29.
"It doesn't matter if we do it early or we do it late. It's our birthday," said Debra Boone, volunteer.
The sunflower state's birthday bash could have easily not have happened this year.
"The city of Topeka, they couldn't financially put it on and so we were thinking someone would," said Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer, co-chair of the festival.
That someone was the community of Wichita. Organizers had four months to put the event together and a majority of the funding came from donations by Wichita businesses.
Saturday morning more than 100 parade entries hit the streets of downtown Wichita along with Governor Sam Brownback. Thousands of spectators came from all corners of Kansas and out of state to celebrate the sesquicentennial.
"I think it's wonderful. I've moved all over the United State and I always come back to visit Kansas. My family's always said it's where the real people are," said Cindy Winfrey, spectator from California.
The celebration moved indoors and concluded with a two-hour concert that told the history of Kansas with songs and dances.
"There's just a lot to see and do in Kansas. The people just aren't aware of and that helps to make that awareness a fuller thing for everyone," said Jim Gray, spectator from Geneseo.
The "Kansas: Home on the Range" concert was complete with history about the early settlers and diverse cultures from immigrants that have settled in Kansas in the past 150 years.
"We have just a really rich history and very diverse just here in the state of Kansas and I think what's happening here is really showing that," said Brewer.
Those who attended the celebrations said they left with a mini history lesson of Kansas and a great deal of pride about being a Kansan.
You can find more information about other sesquicentennial activities by clicking here.