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Kansas Blog

Jess, Faces & Places Tour Roadie

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Northern Central Prairie Inspires Explorers of All Ages

Clouds floating over the Northern Central Prairie in Kansas

Looking for a road trip that inspires inquisitive minds of all ages? Before we even returned home from our Yellow Brick Road Trip through the Southern Central Prairie, my son Charlie was sketching “machines” of gears and springs, my son Lucas was beginning a rock collection, and I was planning an art project involving my favorite (broken) coffee mugs.

Posted on November 19, 2014 1:50PM by Jess, Faces & Places Tour Roadie

Along Route 66: Kickin’ It with Community Spirit

A Faces & Places Roadie Blog  

This was my last trip of the 2013 Faces & Places tour, and I was feeling more than a little sentimental about turning in my TravelKS van keys and packing away the official polo shirts. My grandma mentioned the other evening, "You ought to know Kansas pretty well by now," and you would think that I would feel the same. Yet Kansas manages to surprise me every single time, and my trip to Columbus and the towns along US Route 66 was no exception. 

Posted on October 28, 2013 7:07AM by Jess, Faces & Places Tour Roadie

Sampling Lindsborg’s Swedish Heritage at the Svensk Hyllningsfest Smorgasbord

A Faces & Places Roadie Blog  

I started to write about the history of Lindsborg's Svensk Hyllningsfest and how residents maintain strong ties to Sweden. Then I had a blogger tangent: I'm full of admiration for the dedicated young folk dancers, I wonder at the number of residents in traditional Swedish costume, and I really would like a Dala horse. There is just so much to say about this festival weekend, so much culture and community and laughter - too much, really, for a single blog. So, tonight, in the interest of deadlines, I'll stick with one of my favorite topics: festival food. Please, let me tell you about the smorgasbord experience.

Posted on October 17, 2013 7:37AM by Jess, Faces & Places Tour Roadie

Seeing Kansas Outside my Comfort Zone

A Faces & Places Roadie Blog  

So many times when I'm at a Faces & Places event or traveling between festivals, I'm overcome by the shape of the landscape or the interest of a building. Instead of reaching for a camera, my personal tendency is always to reach for my notebook, ask some questions, have a seat on a bench, and "take it all in." I am passionate about my home state, and I'm thrilled to promote the unique beauty and personality of Kansas. I'm also moved by the images that appear on the TravelKS Facebook timeline.

Posted on October 7, 2013 2:48PM by Jess, Faces & Places Tour Roadie

Inner Peace Outside of Elkhart

A Faces & Places Roadie Blog  

When I set off on the Faces & Places tour to the Morton County Fair, I felt the welcome thrill of unknown territory. Okay, so I was traveling on highways through Kansas.  But I was going out there. My uncle warned me, "Keep an eye on the gas gage. Don't want to get stuck between stations." We were headed to the High Plains. My kids automatically packed their red bandanas. I threw some extra sandwiches into the cooler. This was serious.

Posted on September 26, 2013 7:05AM by Jess, Faces & Places Tour Roadie

Wellington Wheat Harvest, a Cause for Celebration

As far as I can see, the golden glow of freshly-cut wheat fields meets impossibly blue sky. My view is interrupted only by a grain elevator as I step out of the van to take photos of the "Wheat Capital of the World." Wheat has played an important role in the Sumner County economy for decades. Agricultural technologies have changed, yet there is something timeless in this view. I wonder, when the citizens of Wellington decided to hold a festival in celebration of a particularly successful crop in 1900, if they imagined we would still be celebrating 113 years later. 

Posted on July 17, 2013 11:10AM by Jess, Faces & Places Tour Roadie

It was a Blast: Russell and Hays Sparkle with Fourth of July Spirit

A Faces & Places Roadie Blog  

The most recent stops on my Faces and Places tour itinerary were familiar names on my map. I've always associated Russell with its hometown hero, Bob Dole. My kids beg to stop by the Sternberg Museum of Natural History in Hays each time we pass by on Interstate 70. This visit, however, offered a unique opportunity to see each community at its festival finest.  I was to visit Russell's Fourth of July Freedom Fest, followed by a visit to Hays' four-day celebration, the Wild West Fest.

Posted on July 10, 2013 8:15AM by Jess, Faces & Places Tour Roadie

Gypsum Hills Scenic Byway by Bicycle

A Faces & Places Roadie Blog 

On June 8th, bicyclists aged seven to 87 met in Johnson City to travel 522 miles across Kansas. Many came from Kansas; others traveled from as far away as Northern Ireland. Larry Cabeen, Chicago, laughingly claims he came because, "I was told Kansas was flat." Some arrived for the physical challenge, others to connect with friends and family. Riders counted up their trips: For John Bergey of Hesston, this ride marks his ninth.

Posted on July 3, 2013 12:00PM by Jess, Faces & Places Tour Roadie


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