Visitors from across the state expected May 6-9

Submitted by Marci Penner

Hundreds of people are expected to visit the communities of Brown, Doniphan and Nemaha counties Thursday-Sunday, May 6-9, as part of the Kansas Sampler Foundation’s Big Kansas Road Trip.

The first-ever Big Kansas Road Trip (BKRT) started in 2019 in Barber, Comanche and Kiowa counties to replace the popular long-running Kansas Sampler Festival. The purpose of the BKRT is to give cities of every size an opportunity to have visitors and to show-and-tell their story, as well as to provide the public first-hand experiences in rural communities.

“Each year we choose three counties to be showcased in a big tri-county open-house format,” said Foundation director Marci Penner. “All we ask of communities, attractions and businesses is to be good at being themselves. The exploring public just wants to know you as you are. Visitors look at a menu of things to see and do and then create their own schedule for their custom-designed adventure.”

This northeast Kansas version of the BKRT was intended to take place in May, and then September, of 2020 but was postponed both times because of COVID-19.

“No matter the status of COVID-19, the BKRT will take place this May,” Penner said. “People can make choices depending on their level of caution and concern. It’s likely that many will still want to do carry-out from restaurants.”

Local county leaders and communities have been organizing and preparing since April 2019. Listings of events, attractions, restaurants and participating businesses are listed in a 52-page printed guide that can be picked up in most local businesses or city and chamber offices. The website also has all the listings of things to see and do.

“There are so many interesting and fun activities taking place throughout the three counties,” said Linda Duesing, a county leader in Hiawatha. “From farm tours and pie on the porch to food fundraisers and musical performances, there is so much to choose from.”

“I hope that citizens of the three counties will take this opportunity to get out and see things in the three counties that they might not have seen before,” said Kylee Bergstrom, director of Seneca Area Chamber and Downtown Impact. “For instance, Sycamore Springs will be open and giving tours, Don Werner will give tours of his wheelwright and wainwright business near Horton, and several churches in Nemaha County, including the one at St. Benedict and Kelly, will be giving tours. Even remote places like Woodlawn Baptist Church in southern Nemaha County will offer musical entertainment each evening.”

“We encourage the people of our three counties to act as friendly ambassadors to the visitors,” said Leah Johnson, county leader in Doniphan County. “The Kansas Explorers Club teaches their members to visit with locals, shop in locally-owned stores, to not judge a town but get to know it, and to take the back roads. We expect the public to have many questions for the locals, so take the time to enjoy a conversation with them.”

“The Sabetha Chamber is very excited that the Peterson Farm Brothers will be performing at the Somerset Park at 7 p.m. Friday, May 7,” said Sabetha Chamber director Gina Murchison. “The Sabetha Legion Baseball will have a concession stand, so bring your lawn chairs for an evening of family, music, food and fun!”

In addition to county leaders named above, Cindy Alderfer will represent Nemaha County; and Connie Werner and Sarah Kleopfer will represent Brown County.

“We will announce the site of the 2022 BKRT at the Kansas Explorers Club meeting that will take place in the Powhattan City Park on Sunday, May 9 at 10 a.m.,” Penner said.



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