Kansas fall festivals offer tons of fun

In addition to corn mazes and pumpkin patches, Kansas is brimming with a wide range of festivals for fall 2023. Click on Calendar Highlights for even more ideas.

A September highlight for thousands of attendees is the Walnut Valley Festival at the fairgrounds in Winfield. The 51st festival, this year on Sept. 13-17, features five stages of live music, international flat-picking contests, crafts and food. 

Every other year, Lindsborg pulls out all the stops to honor its Swedish heritage with two days of traditional foods, dancing, music and crafts. A biennial event since 1941, the 2023 Svensk Hyllningsfest is Oct. 13-14. 

For more than a century, Independence has celebrated Neewollah (Halloween spelled backwards). The festival was started in 1919 to keep kids out of mischief. The Oct. 20-28 event features parades, a carnival, coronation, arts and crafts fair, bandstand entertainment and food vendors.  

Exploration Place hosts dinosaurs, circus

Wichita’s Exploration Place has turned back the clock 66 million years for Expedition: Dinosaur, which will invite visitors to walk among life-sized animatronic dinosaurs until May 7. A new live science show complements the exhibit. 

Circus! Science Under the Big Top will be in Wichita May 26-Sept. 4. The traveling exhibit reveals the science behind the circus through interactive exhibits, such as walking on a high wire. 

For hours and details, visit exploration.org.

Botanica hosts ocean-debris sculptures 

Fourteen oversized sculptures will be placed throughout Botanica’s gardens May 14-Oct. 23 for the traveling exhibition Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.

Sculptures by Angela Pozzi and her team create giant sea life sculptures made entirely of marine debris collected from beaches. Their goal is to educate and illustrate what plastic pollution is doing to oceans and waterways. The exhibit is included with general admission. For details, visit botanica.org.

Medicine Lodge stages Peace Treaty Festival

The 27th incarnation of the Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty Pageant – a massive outdoor undertaking staged every three to five years since 1927 – is set for Sept. 24-26, 2021.

The pageant commemorates the Treaty of Medicine Lodge, a historic agreement signed in 1867 between the U.S. government and five tribes of Plains Indians. The festival includes an Intertribal Powwow, Kansas Championship Ranch Rodeo, parades, live music, children’s activities and a Bulls & Broncs event.

The pageant – which is performed each day of the festival — compresses 300 years of history into a two-hour tribute to the diverse cultures of the native peoples, discoverers, explorers and settlers. The panorama includes real-life cowboys driving a herd of cattle and a lengthy wagon train. 

For details and tickets, visit peacetreaty.org.