wildlife wildflowers and waterfalls: Smoky Hill River Festival, June 2007

wildlife wildflowers and waterfalls

because "...you can't invent more time." Lemony Snicket

Dan and Linda's Travel Journal

Monday, June 11, 2007


Smoky Hill River Festival, June 2007

Three stages featuring music. Different bands or groups performing all day and evening. Bring lawn chairs and blankets.

Another story about the Wakarusa Festival or the upcoming Country Stampede? Read on

One of the stages is devoted entirely to children including storytelling and musical groups. Nearby is a big canopy devoted to arts and crafts. Explore the popular three huge tables of Lego's.

The web site for the Salina, Kansas, festival says, “Now entering its 31st year, the Smoky Hill River Festival is Kansas’ best kept secret.” I wholeheartedly agree.

Dan and I decided it was time for another Roadtrek adventure. Kim and Marc had already purchased our $7 button, which is good for three days ($10 at the gate). As is so often the case with our Trekker adventures, I was home from work by 4:00 pm and we were on the road by 6:00.

We arrived in Salina in time to tell the grandboys goodnight. Then headed over to the festival grounds. The parking lot was nearly empty so we found perfect place for the Trekker between two big trees. It was also near one of the colorful entrance footbridges across the Smoky Hill River.

Morning came too soon. We nearly missed our son-in-law’s finish to the two-mile run. We weren’t far away because I awoke hearing a band. It was 7:00 am. The Festival Fitness Five had a live music. Cool!

Our grandboys signed up for their own runs so we cheered them on. The cutest group was the eighteen months and under. One little guy actually ran with his binky in his mouth.

After stopping by the Trekker to change clothes we all headed over to the food court for funnel cakes. Maybe I was just hungry, but that pile of stringy deep fried pancake goodness topped with powdered sugar was especially tasty.

In addition to the music, the festival hosts 93 entries in a Fine Art Show and 53 entries in their Four Rivers Craft Market. We took the kids to play games and participate in the craft area while Kim and Marc headed for the art exhibits.

The children’s stage featured the I Am Kenny J Productions. They were celebrating their mission of “footwork with a purpose.” The tent was rocking as young people ended up on the stage dancing to the beat. After the art and games, our boys seemed more content at the Lego area and listening to the music from there.

Why does the outdoors, playing and having fun make you hungry? Who knows, but soon it was noon and an excuse to try the stir fry vegetarian noodles. Question: does eating a vegetarian meal entitle one to have a deep fried candy bar for dessert? I passed.

We took a break in the afternoon. We arrived back with our blanket, cooler and lawn chairs in time to secure our little piece of grass to listen to the evening concert. We were early so I ventured out to look at the Artists in Action exhibits. The Art Car Encore you have to see to believe. People do strange things with cars. Darkness fell and we enjoyed the beautiful warm spring evening while listening to good music.

There are many well-publicized concerts and festivals. The Arts and Humanities Commission along with the city of Salina and other sponsors host the Smoky Hill River Festival. They have families in mind. Salina has it right. Bring in high quality art exhibits, musical groups, and provide similar activities for young people.

It should be an annual destination for families with young children and adults who are young at heart.

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