2024 Big Kansas Road Trip Leads to North-Central Kansas

The sixth annual Big Kansas Road Trip (BKRT) takes place May 2-5 in Ellsworth and Lincoln counties plus the community of Lucas in Russell County.

The goal of the Kansas Sampler Foundation annual event is to provide first-hand experiences in rural communities for the general public, according to Marci Penner, co-director of the foundation.

Dozens of attractions and merchants open their doors and plan activities during the four-day event. Visitors choose their own pace and which of the a la carte options to include.

Itineraries can be planned by visiting bigkansasroadtrip.com or perusing the BKRT color print guide. Options include grassroots art, military history, missile silos, geologic gems, petroglyphs, lakes, post rock structures, hiking trails, museums, a microbrewery, made-from-scratch restaurants, unique shopping, and even a drive-in movie theater.

For more information go to bigkansasroadtrip.com or call 620-960-0552.

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.