Kansas Sampler Festival

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Kansas Sampler Events



The Kansas Sampler Festival ended after 28 years in May, 2017. But, don't worry, we've replaced it with the new Big Kansas Road Trip held May 3 - 6, 2018 in the counties of Barber, Comanche and Kiowa counties. We can't help but get excited about this new event! There is nothing else like it going on in the state or the U.S. that we know of and we know you'll want to learn more about it! Check out the website at www.bigkansasroadtrip.com and make plans now to explore our beautiful state.

The information below is for archival purposes and to preserve the memory and intention of the beloved Kansas Sampler Festival that had its beginnings in 1990 and ended with over 8,000 in attendance in Winfield in 2017.

WHAT was the Kansas Sampler Festival?

The primary purpose of the Kansas Sampler Festival provided the public a sample of what there is to see, do, hear, taste, buy, and learn in the state.
The reason for rotating the festival was to give exhibitors statewide exposure, to give the public in every part of the state a chance to experience the festival, and to give each host city a chance to showcase themselves to a statewide audience.

The Kansas Sampler Festival was designed to bring communities and attractions from all over the state together to make it easy for the public to discover day trip possibilities. It helped visitors looking for hiking trails, historic sites, natural landmarks, unique restaurants, off-the-beaten track eateries, architectural gems, hole-in-wall performing centers, artists-at-work, specialty shops, or have-to-be-there kansas events.

HISTORY of the event

In 1990, Mil and his daughter, Marci Penner had a book signing party for their first Kansas guidebook, the Kansas Weekend Guide. They invited places in the book to come help support the purpose of the book which was to inspire travel throughout Kansas. these attractions filled one big tent. It was a cold November day with rain turning into snow but still a thousand people came to the farm. The event became the Kansas Sampler Festival in 1991 and was held until 1997 on the Penner farm near Inman. In 1993 the festival became a project of the newly formed Kansas Sampler Foundation.

It was decided to take the festival on the road starting in 1998 to expose more people to the festival exhibitors. After a bid process, Pratt was chosen to host the event in 1998 and 1999. Ottawa hosted the festival in 2000 and 2001. Independence was the host for the festival in 2002 and 2003, and Newton was the host in 2004 and 2005. Garden City was the host for 2006 and 2007 followed by Concordia in 2008 and 2009; Leavenworth in 2010 and 2011; Liberal in 2012 and 2013; and Wamego in 2014-2015.  Winfield was the last host in 2016-2017.  

FESTIVAL featured:
  • Over 150 Kansas communities tell what they have to see and do;
  • Dozens of entrepreneurs sold their Kansas-made products
  • Cultural heritage demonstrations and displays;
  • Kansas entertainers performed and were showcased for future bookings;
  • Historical performers provided a sampling of many characters;
  • Kansas questions were asked at the stump, prizes given (this tradition continues at the Big Kanas Road Trip and will move from town to town over the week-end of the even);
  • Food booths told the Kansas story through their menu