The View from the Flint Hills

Dear Friends of the Flint Hills, 
It was great seeing so many of you at the Governor's Flint Hills Visioning Summit at Camp Wood near Elmdale.  I think we'll all agree, it was a beautiful day to be in the Flint Hills!   
One suggestion that was shared during the Summit was to have a website dedicated to the sharing information about businesses, attractions and events in the Flint Hills.  We want you to know that the Flint Hills Tourism Coalition has partnered with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and will be launching a new website in the near future.  We hope to use this centralized site to better promote the Flint Hills Region of Kansas.  In the meantime, our current site: www.kansasflinthills.travel is full of great information about the the Flint Hills of Kansas.
The Flint Hills of Kansas are in the spotlight more now than ever and we want to share the opportunity for you to become part of a 22 county network dedicated to increasing the economic base of the region and state through tourism development within the Kansas Flint Hills Region.  We invite you to review the attached membership brochure to find out how you can become a member of the Flint Hills Tourism Coalition.  
Thank you for your continued support and we hope you enjoy this edition of The View from the Flint Hills


 Governor's Flint Hills Summit

If you weren't able to attend the Governor's Flint Hills Visioning Summit, you can view video from the event by clicking on the photo below. 


Note: The Summit was filmed in 5 parts.


Summit Video

Feast in the Fields

 Feast in the Fields

The cornstalks provide a perfect green backdrop against the white tablecloths and sparkling clear wine glasses set out in the field. The sun bathes the dome-topped silos as evening approaches and the music begins.  This is Feast of the Fields, an agricultural and culinary event held in the Kaw River Valley, east of Manhattan, Kansas, and planned for June 5, 2011. 


The location lies in the heart of the Flint Hills and in the heartland of America.  Historic Beecher Bible and Rifle Church is just a few minutes drive to the east.  Scenic Pillsbury Crossing is a couple of miles to the southwest.   The Feast of the Fields is held upon land that has been farmed by the same family for four generations under the name River Creek Farms.  A combination of history and nature blooms throughout the region.


"We wanted to tell the story of what we do in a way that would connect with those unfamiliar with farming and intrigued by new experiences," says Mary Mertz, coordinator of the Feast.  "Serving a dinner of local faire in a field where crops are growing seemed to be a great venue and the perfect way to bring it all together."


The meal is a culinary delight of fresh and locally produced foods prepared by Chef Scott Benjamin, owner of 4 Olives Restaurant in Manhattan.  The wines are from Kansas vineyards and the meat entrees are supplied by local livestock producers.  This year River Creek Farms spring lamb will be served.


As participants arrive at the Feast of the Fields, they are greeted with hors d'oeuvres and soft background music played by an accomplished musician.  The sun slowly drops over the west field where rows of corn have been cut to allow for the placing of tables.  People from urban areas around the region mingle while enjoying a glass of wine near a hay shed.  The sounds of Simmental cattle and Rambouillet sheep can be heard from their pens in the distance. 


River Creek Farms family members, Bob and Mary Mertz, Joe and Kim Mertz, briefly welcome the group and give a little background information on their farming operations.


"Our life is centered around the farm.  And this event gives us an opportunity to shed some positive light upon agriculture," Mertz says. "Our goal is to have people leave here sharing smiles and with a great lasting impression of Kansas farms and foods."


Feast of the Fields will be held Sunday, June 5, 2011, from 6:00 p.m. until dusk.  Those interesting in a unique and authentic adventure can find out more about FEAST OF THE FIELDS at their web site www.feastofthefields.net. 

Flints Hills Prairie Wildflower & Pasture Tour
The 19th Annual Flint Hills Prairie Wildflower & Pasture Tour is set for Thursday, June 9th  at 4:00pm.  Buses will load at Cassoday Grade School and Matfield Green-Hwy 177.  Reservations MANDATORY! RSVP NOW! Travel is by school bus and led by a local tour guide.  Folks, there is a reason this is its 19th year! This is a tour worth attending!  For more information and to make reservations, call the Chase County Extension Office at 620-273-6491.
Abilene Offers "History in Time" Package


The Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau is offering a History in Time visitor package in June, July, and August, to help commemorate the Kansas Sesquicentennial.  Visitors can experience learning in a one-room school, as it was in the late 19th century.  Retired teachers, dressed in period clothing, will instruct from 1800's primer material.  Visitors will learn about the Underground Railroad from local historians.  Wild Bill Hickok will share stories about law and order while he was Marshall of Abilene.  Guests will be entertained by Cancan dancers in the Alamo Saloon, while enjoying a sarsaparilla.


Those taking advantage of the special package can also enjoy a live performance at Great Plains Theatre, dinner on the Abilene Smoky Valley Railroad excursion train, ride the 1919 steam engine, tours of local museums and festivities during National Day of the Cowboy or the Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo.  For available dates, contact the Abilene CVB at 785-263-2231

Spring Creek School Ceremony

 Spring Creek School


This is the Spring Creek School located on Spring Creek Road across from the Spring Creek Cemetery in Pottawatomie County.


Join the Shehi Reunion Organization for a Memorial Stone Dedication marking the location of the Spring Creek School on Saturday, June 11 at 2:00.

Rock Springs Family Camp


Have you ever wondered what your children are in for when they head off to summer camp?


Now is your chance to find out! Rock Springs invites you and your family to attend a fun filled adventure at "Rock Springs Family Camp."


Activites include:

  • Enjoy an authentic trail ride on one of our famous

    palomino horses. 

  • Swimming in a huge outdoor pool.
  • Night hikes
  • Shooting sports
  • Canoeing and more!

 For more information about Family Camp, click here.

Manhattan Area Events


Sweet sixteen! 


Country Stampede turns Sweet Sixteen this year.  How sweet it is to celebrate with County Music's hottest stars coming to The Little Apple


The 16th Annual 94.5 Country Stampede will be held at Tuttle Creek State Park June 23-26. Eric Church gets things rocking on Thursday night, June 23.  Friday, June 24, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Joe Nichols and headliner Lady Antebellum, who are Country Music Awards Vocal Group of the Year and Single of the Year winner with , "I Run to You" Lady Antebellum also were awarded a Grammy for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group. 


This Sweet 16 Music Festival only gets better on Saturday with Blake Shelton, winner of Music Video of the year takes the stage with "Hillbilly Bone" as one of his best.  To make the day of music and fun complete the Academy of Country Music award winner and Top Male Vocalist, Brad Paisley, takes the stage with "Water"and many of his other hits.


Be a part of the "Stampede" as gates open Friday - Sunday at noon.  Performers take one of multiple stages starting at 1:00 p.m.  



Country Stampede is the largest country music festival in the Mid-West!  Get your tickets now at www.countrystampede.com 



 "Governor's Day" at the First Territorial Capitol


In honor of Kansas and the Civil War 150th anniversaries, the First Territorial Capitol has planned a grand celebration on Saturday June 18 from 10-4 p.m. free to the public.  This is your opportunity to sample life as it was in 1855 while you learn the history of the First Territorial Capitol.  The day will be filled with re-enactment and demonstrations of mountain and plains men, trappers and traders, homesteaders, Fort Riley's cavalry soliders and artillery, and "legislators", a great experience for young and old alike.   For directions to the First Territorial Capitol click on http://www.kshs.org/portal_first_territorial_capitol 

"Just Right" Conference


The "Just Right" conference is presented to offer an educational opportunity to tourism professionals in small to medium sized communities. Olivia Simmons will share her thoughts on "Where to start" as a tourism professional in said communities. We are pleased to have Secretary Jennison join the conference on the eve of recognition of the "new" Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, & Tourism. This is your opportunity to learn, share, and discover the role you play in the world of tourism.


Click here to register or to view the conference brochure.

Marshall County Events & Activities




Big Blue River Days www.marysvillekansaschamber.org/images/Big Blue River Days Flyer.pdf  in downtown Marysville is full of activities. The weekend begins on Friday, June 3rd with the Chamber sponsored Poker Run & Friday Night Cruisin' www.marysvillekansaschamber.org/images/Poker Run Flyer.pdf  along with the beginning of the Marysville Main Street sponsored Big Blue Barbeque www.bigbluebarbeque.com  which includes a Kidz Que Competition, Dessert Contest and Second Wind in concert.


 On Saturday, June 4th the Big Blue Barbeque continues with the barbeque competition & People Choice, Rib Run www.marysvillekansaschamber.org/images/Rib Run.pdf and the 21st Annual Marysville Auto Fest www.marysvillekansaschamber.org/images/Auto Fest.jpg  Other events this weekend include:


Saturday, June 4th:

Farmers Market, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Pancake Feed, Moose Lodge, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Business & Craft Fair, Christian Church, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Button Bling (Relay for Life Fundraiser), Toledo's, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Co-Ed Softball Tournament, Lakeview Sports Complex


Sunday, June 5th:

Co-Ed Softball Tournament, Lakeview Sports Complex Jolly Jogathon, www.marysvillekansaschamber.org/images/records.jpg , Homer Hanson Stadium, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.




A new Flint Hills Discovery Center is being built in Manhattan, Kansas. Part of the construction will include a wall to house Time Capsules from the 22 counties in the Flint Hills. The Time Capsules will all be opened in 50 years, the 200th Birthday of Kansas. Margaret James, a representative from the Discovery Center will be in Marysville to load the Marshall County Time Capsule during Big Blue River Days. Stop by and watch this historic event!


WHEN: June 4 - 12 Noon to 2 p.m.

WHERE: 820 Broadway (in front of 4 Carats)




The annual Pony Express Re-ride will run from St. Joseph, MO to Sacramento, CA beginning June 8, 2011. Over 600 riders will take part in this 10 day, 24 hour a day event. Each rider will take the Pony Express oath, and be issued a commemorative Bible in the tradition of Russell, Majors and Waddell.

Be on hand in Marysville to witness the change of horses & riders. Arrive early in case they are ahead of schedule!


WHEN: June 9 at approximately 7:00 a.m.

WHERE: Pony Express Original Home Station #1 Barn & Museum




The grand opening for the new Community Memorial Healthcare will include a ribbon cutting, tours of the new facility and refreshments. Don't miss it!


WHEN: June 26th from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

WHERE: Community Memorial Healthcare


The local Farmers Market will be open for business every Saturday from May 7th through October 29th, from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in historic downtown Marysville. You'll find a large selection of baked goods, locally grown foods, plants and handmade crafts at the market.


Venders must register with Marysville Sports & Recreation. For more information call 785.562.6818.




June 2: Boy Scout Chicken Barbeque, American Legion

June 10: Pony Express Catbackers Golf Tournament, Dinner & Auction

June 10-12: American Legion Classic Baseball Tournament

June 11: Kiwanis Classic Baseball Tournament

June 17: Relay for Life, Homer Hanson Stadium

June 19: Moose Membership Dance, Moose Lodge

June 21: Adam White, Children's Magician, Marysville Public Library

June 26: Dorian Michael, Contemporary Guitarist, Marysville Public Library

For more information, contact the Marysville Chamber of Commerce at 785-562-3101 or 800-752-3965.





Meatloaf Festival

Meatloaf Festival

June 25th



Eskridge 150th Celebration
Eskridge Sesquicentennial Celebration
Kansas Cowboy Poetry Contest 


Throughout American history, cowboy poets have played a large part in framing the landscape of the American West and the State of Kansas through written and oral poetry.  On Saturday, June 11th the first ever state-wide Kansas Cowboy Poetry Contest will be held in Alma Kansas, in conjunction with the Symphony in the Flint Hills. 


The event will take place at the Wabaunsee County Fair Grounds, with the contest beginning at 10am. There will be two divisions: serious and humorous poetry. The event is open to the public, all are encouraged to attend and participate.  


As the honorary chair of the Symphony in the Flint Hills, Governor Brownback will be signing the winning certificates of the Kansas Cowboy Poetry Contest and the grand prize will be the Governor's Buckle. The award is titled the Saddlejack Bradrick Kansas Cowboy Poetry Award.


The first place competitors in each division will receive the coveted Governor's Buckle. The winning contestants will be asked to recite their work again at noon for the presentation of awards.  A Champion will be named in each division, receiving two tickets to the Symphony in the Flint Hills where they will receive recognition from Kansas Governor, Sam Brownback. 


Committee members shared their passion at Governor Brownback's recent proclamation designating Cowboy Poetry Week.  "Cowboy poetry is still a living art, practiced by Kansans and others today," said Ron Wilson, poetry contest chair.  "It is important to recognize the significance of cowboy poetry and our western heritage for future generations of Kansans."


Poetry guidelines, for contestants and judges, will be set by Two-Time National Champion Cowboy Poet, from Alma Kansas, Geff Dawson.  Contestants will be evaluated on a 20 point scale, of which up to 10 points are awarded for quality and up to five points each for theme (topic) and presentation (delivery).  Content: Poems and Lyrics must be original works from contestant. Stories can be of cowboying, ranching, rural life and may be of the present, or the past and involve any family history or legend.  Content of poems must be clean and G-rated and be good for the whole family.


Presentation:  Poems and lyrics should be told in traditional cowboy poetry style, which has rhyme and meter and a story line that flows naturally. Prose is for the coffee house and not considered for this contest.


For entry information visit www. cowboypoetrycontest.com or contact chair Ron Wilson, Poet Lariat at ron@ronscowboypoetry.com or contact Abby Amick, Wabaunsee County Economic Development, 785-765-4655, abby@wabaunsee.com. 


Committee Members include: Jeff Davidson, President, Kansas Chapter of Western Music Association from Greenwood County; Brad Hamilton, Western Entertainer from Hoyt; Geff Dawson, accomplished cowboy poet and entertainer from the Alma area, and Glenn Brunkow an entertainer from Pottawatomie County.


The Art of Maude J. Mitchell


The Art of Maude J. Mitchell Coming to the

Wabaunsee County Historical Society Museum

 "Homesteads of the Free" exhibition opens June 4, 2011


Alma, Kan. -In conjunction with Symphony in the Flint Hills' commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Kansas' statehood and the start of the Civil War on June 11, the Wabaunsee County Historical Society and Museum is hosting an exhibition titled "Homesteads of the Free: The Art of Maude J. Mitchell (1875-1957)" that will run from June 4 to July 5, 2011.


"We are excited to celebrate our state's heritage by presenting to the public the work of a true Kansas pioneer," said Michael Stubbs, Wabaunsee County Historical Society board member. "Maude Mitchell's roots are here in Wabaunsee County and she worked hard to preserve and make vital the history and culture of this area.  Her work was once well known, then nearly forgotten, and is now being rediscovered."


Mitchell was the daughter of Captain William Mitchell, a leader of the Beecher Bible and Rifle Colony who also operated an Underground Railroad station at his home three miles east of Wabaunsee. Maude received her early education at district school number two in the area before attending college and studying art in New York. She returned to Kansas in 1915 to manage the Mitchell Ranch and became a well-known Kansas artist for her paintings of views in Pottawatomie and Wabaunsee counties.


"Maude is known for her impressionistic landscapes as well as paintings of the farms and outbuildings of her neighbors," said Stubbs. "A few pieces in the show also depict the homes of former slaves and their descendants who were settlers in post-Civil War Wabaunsee County."


In addition to painting, Mitchell was also a musician and composer. Her published works include "Prairie Road's A-Windin'," recorded by Roy Rogers. Mitchell also created a series of murals for Columbia University, where she studied art, and designed the stone gateway at the Wabaunsee Township Cemetery.


"Homesteads of the Free: The Art of Maude J. Mitchell" will be on exhibit from June 4 to July 5 at the Wabaunsee County Historical Society Museum in Alma, Kansas. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. For more information, call 785-765-2200 or email wabcomuseum@embarqmail.com.

Prairiewood's Summer Open House

Prairiewood Open House 

Symphony in the Flint Hills 

 Symphony Weekend Guide


In celebration of the 150th anniversary of Kansas' statehood, Symphony in the Flint Hills is partnering with Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area and Capitol Federal for this year's sixth annual event on June 11.  


The outdoor festival will take place on the privately owned Fix Pasture in Volland, Kansas. The site is adjacent to Mill Creek Scenic Drive between Alma and Alta Vista in Wabaunsee County.


Although tickets sold out in record time, you can still learn more about the event and what's happening in the area during that weekend at www.symphonyintheflinthills.org, "Symphony in the Flint Hills" on Facebook and @SITFHs on Twitter.

Click map above to view the 2011 Symphony in the Flint Hills Weekend Guide


Wabaunsee County Host of 2011 Symphony in the Flint Hills 

As host of the 2011 Symphony in the Flint Hills, Wabaunsee County communities are going above and beyond to provide entertainment, local food, art and a terrific experience for all who attend!  All of the community festivities are open to the public - no symphony tickets required!


We would welcome you to attend the Square Dance in Alta Vista, the Kansas Cowboy Poetry Contest in Alma, do some shopping along the way and enjoy a beautiful weekend in the Flint Hills!


Keep checking www.wabaunsee.com for an updated schedule of events!

2011 Symphony


Wabaunsee County Symphony Weekend Events

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Alta Vista  

         Breakfast at the Legion Hall

         Local Art, Craft, and Food Vendors will fill downtown Alta Vista

         Square Dance, local caller, teams from across Kansas and surrounding states! 8pm - midnight

o    Includes demonstrations, lessons, line dancing, and circle dancing

         Tallgrass Brewery Tent - local product!

         Buffalo Ranch Tours, Ag Heritage Park Tours, Antiques, Quilt Show

         Local Food Products: Buffalo Joes, Elk Sticks, Jams and Jellies

         Live Chainsaw Carving Demonstrations - personalized pieces available day of event

         Saturday Morning and Sunday Morning - Preaching on the Prairie, Lutheran Church Service at the Old Templin Church Site near the Symphony location - 9:30am music, 10:30am service


         Alma Chamber - German Meal at Legion Hall

         Alma Bakery serving Bierock meals

         Cinnamon Rolls and Coffee at road-side park north side of town -Wabaunsee 4-H Club

         Buffalo Ranch Tours - Plumlee Buffalo

         Historic Re-enactors - Court House grounds

         Open House at the Alma Hotel while under construction

         Food and craft vendors on Fourth Street (north side of the park)

         Live Music and entertainment in the Park

         Kansas Cowboy Poetry Contest - Fair Building 10am Contest, Noon Awards

         Horseback Demonstrations at the Fairgrounds Arena

         Railroad Park open for tours of the Millinery Shop and Log Cabin

         Farm Bureau ag education activities - Alicsa Mayer and Erin Debler

         Museum - Maude Mitchell Exhibit (June 4 - July 5)- Liz Seaton

         Sherry Hensley - Sports Team serving Call Hall Ice Cream in the park

         Native Stone Scenic Byway - Stan Herd Art Auction - Palenske Hall 10am - 3pm

Mt Mitchell Heritage Prairie

         Captain Mitchell's Home Open by donation 10am - 3pm (original cabin still exists, inside the Crisler Home)

         Local Historian, Carol Cook will be portraying Maude Mitchell at 10am at the home

         Glen Lojka, artist who carved the Freedom Seeker statue

         Wildflower walks on Mt Mitchell

Wabaunsee Townsite

         Beecher Bible and Rifle Church - open for tours, selling refreshments  

Native Stone Scenic Byway

         10am - 3pm Workshop Site 1.3 miles north of Alma Open to visitors with Photo Story Boards, Lift a Rock - feel the weight

         Open Houses along byway - special tours of Waugh Bank Building, Railroad Park, Buffalo Inn, Sage Inn, Burgen Wood Specialties, (schedule with times and details to come)


         District 26 Volland School House - Open to the public, sits on Old K-10 west of the Symphony site

         Verne Clausen - wagon rides into property to see the old Fix Homestead

         Joyce Thierer and Anne Burney - Wooden Store Building, re-enacting and storytelling from the Fix family perspective

o    Rosa Fix Thierer (1900) telling the stories of Vollands History 11:00am, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm


         Paxico Pantry - 'local products' for sale

         Bus tours scheduled to be in Paxico for lunch and shopping


Emporia Celebrates the Flint Hills
The schedule of events for Emporia Celebrates the Flint Hills continues to grow. This new series of events has been created to enhance the stay of visitors coming to our area for the annual Symphony in the Flint Hills on June 11. The events also provide more things to do for Emporians and area residents. Most events are free and open to the public. Mark your calendar for some upcoming summer fun!

June 4-5 - Tallgrass Writing Workshop--Center for Great Plains Studies, Emporia State University, call to register 620-341-5574


Week of June 4-12 - Flint Hills Photography Exhibit and "Stringtown: A Short Look at Black Emporia 1850-1920", reception June 4, Emporia Arts Center, 620-343-6473


Thursday, June 9 - Municipal Band Concert, 8 p.m., Fremont Park, 620-342-4553


Friday, June 10 - Lectures, music, slides, documentaries, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Granada Theatre, 620-342-3342


Open House Reception, 4:30-6:30 p.m., William Allen White House, 620-342-2800


Outdoor concert and beer garden, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., 8th & Merchant


Saturday, June 11 - "Prairie Heritage" activities and demonstrations, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon, Howe House, 620-340-6314 


Sunday, June 12 - Vintage baseball game, 11 a.m., Howe House, 620-340-6314.


El Dorado Events
Frontier Western Celebration
Register for one of four Summer Weekend Getaways at El Dorado Lake! Winners receive a two-night stay in a deluxe cabin at the lake, lake passes, fully stocked refrigerator, use of two bicycles for the weekend, round of golf at Prairie Trails Country Club, restaurant gift card, complimentary passes to Butler County History Center and Coutts Museum of Art, huge gift basket. To register go to www.360ElDorado.com and click on the El Dorado Lake Escape banner. The first drawing will be on June 17th.


The PaintAmerica Top 100 National Painting Exhibition will be at the Coutts Museum June 14 through August 13. Original paintings by top painters from across the country will be on display.

The El Dorado Main Street Frontier Western Celebration is coming up August 4 through 7. Bull riding, live concerts, BBQ competition, trail ride and more! For more information visit www.frontierwesterncelebration.com.


The Mission of the Flint Hills Tourism Coalition is the increase the economic base of the region and state through tourism development within the Kansas Flint Hills Region. 

FHTC Members
Bob Carlson
Imagine Chase County
Jeff Davidson
Saddle Rock Caf�

FHTC Vested Members:

A Vested Member means a $5,000 investment has been made to the Flint Hills Tourism Coalition.  Vested members may serve on the board of directors and are entitled to one vote.


Marshall County


Pottawatomie County


Riley County


Chase County


Dickinson County


Marion County


Morris County


Wabaunsee County


Butler County


Cowley County


Sedgwick County

"The Flint Hills are an incredible, wonderful, almost magical place. There's no other place like it."


Naturalist Jan Jantzen  

Tourism Fast Facts:

The Economic Impact of Kansas Tourism

Tourism is a vital part of the Kansas economy. It infused $7.2 billion into the economy in 2009 and, based upon jobs, is the 3rd largest industry in Kansas.


Tourism directly supports approximately 125,000 individuals, which accounts for 9.3% of the total non-farm employment in the state. $2.56 billion in wages and salaries were generated in 2009.


All told, Kansas tourism contributes 4.5% of the total Kansas gross state product, providing 27.4% of all state and local tax revenue in 2009.


Click here for more information.

Experiential Tourism Strategy for the Kansas Flint Hills

Click here to view the 2005 Fermata Report.   

8 Wonders of Kansas Guidebook


The 8 Wonders of Kansas Guidebook is now available at a variety of Flint Hills stores.  To view a complete list of stores, please click here.



Content for the Flint Hills Tourism Coalition's newsletter, The View from the Flint Hills, must be submitted to julie@ecodevo.com by the last day of the month at 5:00 pm.


All FHTC members are encouraged to submit stories, photos and information about upcoming events.

Contact Us:

Road Sign


Flint Hills Tourism Coalition, Inc. (FHTC)


P.O. Box 244

Alma, KS  66401


Ph: 620.273.6763


E-Mail: FlintHillsTourism@gmail.com


Website: www.kansasflinthills.travel 
 (new website coming soon!)