More than 8,200 people came to enjoy the weather-shortened version of the 27th annual Kansas Sampler Festival in Winfield's Island Park on May 7-8.
After a sunny Saturday, thunderstorms dampened the grounds on Sunday afternoon. A tornado watch to the south of Cowley County eventually caused festival organizers to bring the Kansas celebration to a halt around 3 p.m.
More than 140 Kansas communities were represented in the displays, performances, products and food that provided the public a sample of what there is to see, do, hear, taste, buy and learn in Kansas.
Festival director Sarah Werner said, "It was gratifying to see our local volunteers go all out to make this a successful event. Everybody who volunteered was proud to be a part of the festival. And it was a privilege to work with the exhibitors and vendors, a great group of people working hard to promote Kansas."
Winfield is the tenth community to host the festival since the annual celebration left the Penner Farm near Inman in 1998.
Kansas Sampler Foundation festival overseer WenDee LaPlant said, "Winfield knocked it out of the ballpark. The
exhibitors were warmly welcomed from the minute they arrived. The downtown
Friday Music Crawl was a hit with exhibitors and locals alike. The
support and teamwork provided by local festival director, Sarah Werner,
the Winfield Chamber of Commerce, the City of Winfield staff and nearly
400 volunteers from throughout the Cowley County area was exemplary
and contributed to the success of the festival."
Winfield will host the final Kansas Sampler Festival in Island Park on May 6-7, 2017. In 2018, the event will transition to a road trip format.
The festival is a project of the Inman-based Kansas Sampler Foundation whose mission is to preserve and sustain rural culture. For more information go to www.kansassamplerfestival.com