Thursday, July 12, 2012
It's been a Kansas tradition for more than a century, but now an annual wheat festival has earned state recognition.
The city of Wellington is not only home to 8,000 people, but it also hosts the only wheat festival in the state.
"It's recognizing the folks that, for more than 100 years, for as long as Kansas has been around, and has fed our people," said Shelley Hansel-Williams, executive director for Wellington-area Chamber of Commerce.
The Wellington Wheat Festival began 112 years ago, after farmers wanted to celebrate a bumper wheat crop year.
This year, the community is celebrating after Kansas named the annual tradition as the statewide post-harvest festival.
Hansel-Williams said the designation is appropriate, given that Wellington is Sumner County's seat, and the county is the wheat capital of the world.
The five-day event has become a summer highlight in the small town.
Natives return home every year for the festival.
"Growing up here it was something that we looked forward to every year," said Chris Deschaine, who now lives in Detroit.
The Kansas Wheat Festival is hosting an ag and energy expo on Thursday. The festivities continue through Sunday.