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Karen Ridder

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The State Fair is a Great State Fair

Every time I see the complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica on the shelves of my living room, I think of the Kansas State Fair. Strange? Perhaps, but of course, there's a story behind that...

When I used to live in Wichita, the State Fair in Hutchinson was a regular must-do for my friends and me. We eagerly looked forward to bierocks, the Old Mill roller water boat ride and a view of the annual butter sculpture in the Pride of Kansas building. Yes, there was something a bit kitschy about it all for us, cool twenty-somethings, but then again, we always had fun. 

Posted on September 19, 2013 1:38PM by Karen Ridder

A thrill for all; The Great Midwest Balloon Festival

If you go to the Great Midwest Balloon Festival, prepare for a lot of pointing and "wow"-ing.

That pretty much sums up the experience my family had at this year's event in Olathe. There are really very few things that can truly thrill both the young and the old, but hot air balloons are one of them. 

Posted on August 20, 2013 12:46PM by Karen Ridder

Favorites of Fiesta

Fiesta Mexicana is so much a part of the Topeka summer experience that it is hard to keep in mind the event is simply a church fundraiser. Of course, there is nothing simple about it. A better way to describe "Fiesta" is a celebration of culture and community that one neighborhood shares with us all.

Posted on July 23, 2013 11:51AM by Karen Ridder

NOTO Arts District: Topeka’s Arts destination

When I moved to Topeka ten years ago, the stretch of historic buildings lining North Kansas Avenue  between NE Norris and NE Gordon were a bit run-down to say the least. Neglected and mostly abandoned, there were few bright spots along this stretch that led towards one of Topeka's top tourist spots - The Great Overland Station. As newbies to town, we thought that seemed too bad, but like many people, we kind of saw it as a dead-end. 

Posted on June 11, 2013 1:31PM by Karen Ridder

Riding the Rails: Taking a Heritage Train Ride in Abilene

The railroad is so closely tied to the Kansas story of adventure, opportunity and progress that it only seems fitting those visiting the state should take the time to ride the rails. Amtrak service is limited in our state, but excursion trains to provide a unique and relaxing opportunity to enjoy this piece of history.

Posted on May 23, 2013 8:28AM by Karen Ridder

Safari Adventures in Chanute

The museum that bears the name of Martin and Osa Johnson is not exactly what you'd expect to find in the middle of Kansas. Then again, Martin and Osa Johnson were not exactly your run of the mill people. 

Posted on April 11, 2013 7:26AM by Karen Ridder

The Osawatomie Experience: a historic day-trip

Osawatomie is a great little Kansas day-trip full of history from a time when the state was new and people were passionate about their political positions. The town was a pivotal spot during the Bleeding Kansas fight for freedom. It stakes claim to being the place Kansans were first called "Jayhawkers" and is where the Kansas Republican party was founded. BUT, it is perhaps best known for its relation to the famous abolitionist, John Brown.

Posted on March 26, 2013 2:51PM by Karen Ridder


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