NORTH CENTRAL KANSAS TO BE NEXT BKRT HOSTS
On the last day of the 2022 Big Kansas Road Trip in Bourbon, Cherokee and Crawford counties, Marci Penner of the Kansas Sampler Foundation announced that the 2023 Big Kansas Road Trip (BKRT) will take place in Jewell, Republic, and Smith counties in North Central Kansas on May 4-7.
The BKRT is a multi-day event that feels like a tri-county open house of communities and their attractions and locally-owned shops and restaurants, and it’s a time to travel back roads and take in short activities that help locals tell their story. Penner said, “All we ask is that communities be good at being themselves. The public wants to have first-hand experiences in our rural communities and countryside to get to know them.”
A menu of things to see and do is presented in a variety of ways from a printed piece to a web site, with updates and encouragement on social media. Each person, family or group attending can choose where they want to go and make their own schedule. It’s adventure ala carte at your own pace.
Penner said, “It’s impossible to know how many attend the BKRT each year because everyone is spread out over three counties. No one gets overloaded but everyone gets more traffic than usual.”
Visitors to the 2022 event in southeast Kansas came from every region of Kansas and sign-in sheets showed that there were many people from out-of-state as well.
Fort Scott (Bourbon County) Public Relations and Tourism Director, Jackson Tough said “the Big Kansas Road Trip was excellent. We heard from many local businesses and area visitor attractions that said they saw increased traffic. Some said they had visitors from neighboring states like Missouri, Arkansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and even Colorado. Others came a greater distance like Minnesota, Iowa, and Nevada, among other states. Of course, we also hosted a large number of in-state visitors too. The event was great exposure for Bourbon, Cherokee and Crawford Counties. After visiting with Big Kansas Road Trip organizer Marci Penner, I also believe we will see residual effects for years to come!”
County seats in the 2023 showcase are Mankato (Jewell County), Belleville (Republic County) and Smith Center (Smith County). A few highlights are the Home on the Range cabin (near Athol) and the geographic center of the 48 contiguous states (Lebanon) in Smith County; a WPA-built courthouse (Mankato) and Lovewell Lake and State Park in Jewell County; and the Pawnee Indian Village state historic site (near Republic) and the National Midget Auto Racing Museum (Belleville) in Republic County.
“Belleville is the biggest city in the three counties with a population of 1,900,” said Penner. The 2023 road trip will have a different feel than this year which is what makes it exciting. These counties will provide visitors many intriguing ways to get to know them.”
The mission of the Kansas Sampler Foundation is to preserve and sustain rural culture. For more information on the BKRT, go to www.bigkansasroadtrip.com.
Submitted by Jackson Tough, Fort Scott Public Relations and Tourism Director.
Here are the Par Tee Girls Information and Rules, provided by Striler:
“*Everyone has a partner.
*We will play from the red tees.
*Please play ready golf – hit when you can if another golfer is not ready.
*Take only 6 strokes before green. If you are not on the green by the 6th shot,
(5th on par 3s) pick up your ball and move to the green so you can count your putts.
*We will have one game each night. The winner receives half the putt money. The rest
will go toward the banquet.
*Turn in one scorecard with all 4 players on it. (I do not record everyone’s weekly score,
so if you want to keep track, you can fill out an extra card to keep)
*When scoring, write down your total score for the hole, and then the number of putts you have for the hole.
Do the same for your total score
This way you can calculate what you need to add to the kitty.
*If you hit a ball out of bounds or into the water, drop a ball near where it went out, and take a one stroke penalty.
*Free lift – If your ball lands on a man-made pathway, sprinkler, etc., bring the ball out two club lengths back away from the hole.
*Keep up with the pace of play. You should be able to complete a hole in less than 15 minutes. That way the tee times don’t get backed up.
*Most of all, relax, play with new people and have fun !!!”
She grew up in the Kansas City area and discovered Fort Scott around eight years ago when husband, Dean, and she were looking for a lake house. Friends had recently purchased a home at Lake Fort Scott and suggested that they come look.
The community has been very welcoming, she said, and the couple “fell in love with Fort Scott.”
Striler’s original plan was to fix up some houses and sell them because of a need for housing in the community. She enjoys working with hand tools, has a background in sales and a marketing degree.
She decided to get a real estate license.
After visiting with Jared Leek, owner of Front Door Realty, things fell into place.
“I started working as a realtor with Front Door Real Estate and we (she and Dean) purchased the Ren-nett Studio Building at 6 N. Main,” she said. She now has a Kansas and Missouri license.
She works to get unoccupied homes back on the market, she said.
“It ends up being a win win situation for everyone: back taxes get paid, the past owner is relieved of the burden and a new person finds a home,” she said.
Since Larry and Vickie Shead’s retirement as educators a few years back they have been showcasing their farm to the public.
They started an event last year for visitors to explore and gather ideas from the Shead’s sustainable lifestyle farm.
“We feel we are just caretakers (of the farm),” Vickie Shead said. “This is what God has given us to do.”
“The Shead Farm Homestead Festival is great for all ages with the farm’s 50 point tour, children’s educational game center, music, and food court, all setting the stage for new innovative ideas and educational information about gardening and farming that produce quality food,” she said.
On May 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. they are opening their farm to the public for the second annual Shead Farm Homestead Festival, located at 2468 Cavalry Rd, Garland, KS, southeast of Fort Scott.
In addition to a farm tour of their gardens, orchard, greenhouse, animals and bee keeping activities there will be a food court serving products made at the farm: walking tacos for $5 and supercharged cookies for $2.
Vendors will be selling seedlings, soap, honey and more.
The farm will be filled with sounds of live music by many local musicians, David Pritchett, Ralph Carlson, Mim Carlson and Carolyn Tucker. Also, a local group called the Prairie Sunflower Strings will perform as well: Marilyn Adcock, Charlena Burns, Jack and Sandy Hemphill, Joyce Love, Cherry Nelson, Jean Strader, Stephen Moses. There will also be an open jam session. Sound is provided by Dave Oas.
Children will have lots to choose from for activities: an animal arena, story station, photo place, cow milking, butter making, and more.
Admission for the day is $5 per person or $20 for a family of four and more.
Their children and their spouses will be helping the day of the festival excluding Michael and Chrisi Shead and family, who are missionaries to Guatemala. Those who will be helping May 21 are: Mark and Haley Shead, Mitzi and Joel Ray, and Maria and Clayton Whitson, along with most of their 21 grandchildren. Many other volunteers are helping to make this a great family outing.
For more information:
Phone: (620) 224-4149
Email: [email protected]
History of the Shead’s Sustainable Homestead
In 1978, Larry and Vickie Shead moved to their family’s 1892 homestead with a goal of having a healthy, sustainable, organic farm.
They began to produce fruits, vegetables, herbs and animals, and also to teach and train the family the value of hard work as a fun activity and entertainment.
Before “agritourism” was a word, the Sheads found themselves welcoming guests who wanted to experience farm life. These included: school field trips, church camps, reunions, weddings, and large Thanksgiving gatherings.
Over the decades, five colleges used the farm for weekend retreats where students could experience the life of work and fun in the outdoors. Over 3000 students representing 50 states and 54 different countries have come to enjoy the farm.
In 2017, Vickie’s dream of a high tunnel (greenhouse) became a reality through a Natural Resource Conservation Service grant, through the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.
“The high tunnel not only extends the growing season but helps protect against insects and chemical contaminants that might drift from neighboring farms,” she said.
In 2021, the Shead Farm was registered as an Agritourism Farm with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
Over 44 years, Vickie has planted, grown, harvested, and preserved all her organic produce surplus which was dehydrated and ground into extremely fine powder and added to cookies, eggs, smoothies, peanut butter sandwiches, meats, soups, casseroles,
puddings, salads, etc.
It is called VEGGIE POWDER.
The powder provides extra nutrients for families constantly on the go, parents of difficult eaters, or those wanting a more healthy natural diet, she said.
The concentrated organic Veggie Powder from the Shead Farm has an interested beginning.
“Having 250 kindergartners come to the farm
for a fun, farm field trip was an eye opener,” Vickie said. “The school provided healthy sack lunches. However, when the trash was emptied, almost all of the carrots and most of the apples were in the trash along with half-eaten peanut butter sandwiches. The
cookies were ALL EATEN. Children, as well as adults, often choose to eat what they want to eat, pushing the healthy vegetables to the side. Vegetables are sadly missing in so many diets.”
VEGGIE POWDER is made without fillers. In each bottle, she uses available vegetables: kale, cucumbers, zucchini, chard, sweet potatoes, sweet potato leaves, summer squash, carrots, carrot tops, butternut squash, okra, spinach, beets, beet greens, eggplant, Malabar spinach, and Moringa.
Veggie Powder will be available for sale on the day of the festival and additionally, the powder is sold on Etsy for $5 per oz.
After ordering, each customer receives a thank you card with a recipe on the back, usually made by Vickie and Larry’s grandchildren.
Customers can visit their Facebook page for inspiration on how to incorporate the powder into their meals.
The first half of this week’s Friday Night Concert will feature Michael Lundeen on the keyboard, and Rick Hite will finish out the one-hour concert. Hite sings and plays guitar and mandolin, and performs a variety of music including Country, Folk, Bluegrass, Gospel, and Oldies.
“Hite began singing in church at the age of 5 and has been playing guitar since age 9,” concert-series organizer Ralph Carlson said. “He has played The White Horse Saloon in Black Mountain, North Carolina, Jekyll Island, Georgia, the Mildred Store, VFW, the Eagles, Elks, Old Settler’s Picnic, and various local venues. Lundeen began studying piano at the age of 6 and has a vast repertoire of hymns, gospel, 1930s music, and songs from his youth. We really appreciate the talents of these two local musicians and are pleased to welcome them back to the park pavilion. Come out and join your friends for an enjoyable evening of music.”
The concert begins at 7 p.m. at the Heritage Park Pavilion at First and Main streets. The shows, sponsored by the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce, are free and open to the public. Dave Oas of Parsons serves as sound technician each week. Due to limited seating, attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.
In the event of inclement weather, the concert will be moved to the Common Ground Coffee Co., 12 E. Wall Street.
Tourism is the act of spending time away from home in pursuit of recreation, relaxation, and pleasure, while using commercial services, according to Britannica Dictionary.
Local tourism is looking healthy as evidenced by the transient guest tax from 2015 through 2022, which just completed its first quarter, JacksonTough, Fort Scott’s Public Relations and Tourism Director said.
“Transient guest tax is probably the most common form of raising funds to promote tourism in a given community,” Tough said. “It’s simply a tax on hotel/motel rooms that visitors pay when they stay in Fort Scott.”
“Residents do not pay into the tourism tax unless they happen to stay in a hotel/motel in Fort Scott,” he said. “Advertising funds are primarily used for promotion of Fort Scott; from print ads, brochure distribution, website maintenance, materials to target motorcoach tours and conferences, social media ad placement, among others.”
The City of Fort Scott has had several tourism directors through the years whose job it is to promote events and attractions
Tough started last June as the newest public relations and tourism director.
Earlier this year, his office was moved from city hall to the Bourbon County Regional Economical Development Inc. office on the second floor of the Landmark Bank, 200 S. Main, he said. He is still an employee of the city but the move allows he and the REDI Executive Director Rob Harrington to work more closely.
Because tourism is also a form of economic development the city commission and the REDI board agreed that it would be smart for the two entities to work side by side, Tough said.
“Like Rob’s job is to help existing businesses increase and to facilitate new business, my job is to help grow existing tourism as well as promote for new events and tourism attractions to Fort Scott,” Tough said.
“I’m very excited about the direction we’re headed in, Harrington said. “Jackson and I work well together. He has his own economic development experience when he was in broadcast marketing and management and also through the chamber of commerce. He has put together a solid plan for marketing Fort Scott tourism into the future.”
“Even though tourism is on the rise there’s always room for improvement,” Tough said. “We are constantly researching opportunities. Whether it’s the possibility of more motor sports, expansion of rodeo events, adding disc golf or baseball tournaments.”
“There has been discussion of combining and incorporating Gordon Parks, Company D – 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry Regiment and other little known and under told stories of progressive African American leaders and events from the Fort Scott area,” Tough said. “It’s an inspirational story that should be told about our area.”
“Advertising funds are primarily used for promotion of Fort Scott; from print ads, brochure distribution, website maintenance, materials to target motorcoach tours and conferences, social media ad placement, among others.”
To view the prior story on the mud run:
“We recently hosted two new events to Fort Scott,” Tough said. “The first annual Fort Scott Mud Run at the Bourbon County Fairgrounds drew approximately 500 visitors to town last month. The first annual National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) youth race at Gunn Park, also in April, brought approximately 400 visitors to Fort Scott.”
This month Bourbon County hosted with Crawford and Cherokee counties the 2022 Big Kansas Road Trip which features three Kansas counties each year.
The three counties cooperated to invite folks from across Kansas to explore the area.
“It’s been a fantastic event to be a part of!” Tough said.
These Are Events The Fort Scott Tourism Office Works With
- FSCC Rodeo each March,
- National Historic Site Spring Civil War Encampment in April,
- Pioneer Harvest Fiesta Swap Meet and Town-Wide Sale each May,
- Good Ol’ Days Celebration in June,
- Lavender Fest in June,
- Marmaton Massacre/Tri-Yak-A-Thon in September,
- Pioneer Harvest Fiesta, and the Gordon Parks Celebration in October,
- Veterans Day Events (Monuments & Memorials, Military Mixer, etc.) in November,
- National Historic Site Candlelight Tours in December.
“We also promote Dolly the Trolley, the U.S.National Cemetery #1, our Historic Downtown District, as well as other events/attractions” Tough said.
“Fort Scott Tourism is continuing to build a strong brand, expand our social media reach, and target consumers that fit our primary visitor demographics,” Tough said. “Brand awareness is critical to building a relationship with travelers. We will continue to utilize creative concepts that deliver…measurable results. A unique proposition targeted to prospective travelers can create consumer engagement.”
For more information about Fort Scott tourism click www.VisitFortScott.com to discover more events, attractions, excellent eateries, cozy accommodations and more.