Sunday, May 1, 2011

Kansas road work expected for summer of 2011

Kansas road work?

Yes, as in driving Kansas backroads. Road work. The fun kind.

The kind that takes you to local cafes that bake their own bread and use real mashed potatoes for their hot roast beef sandwiches. The kind that take you to unstaffed historic sites where you can feel spirits. The kind that show you stone arched bridges (if you look under the road) and wooden barns and varied fence posts and all sorts of nuances that explorers appreciate.

The best way to start your summer of road work is to head to the Kansas Sampler Festival held May 7-8 in Leavenworth at Ray Miller Park. Saturday, May 7 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, May 8 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

You'll find so many day trip ideas at the festival that your road work might linger deep into the fall. More than 150 communities will be there to tell you about multiple attractions in each of their towns. The festival will also lead you to musical venues, places to buy Kansas products and art, and you can start sampling Kansas foods right at the festival.

You might feel overwhelmed at the festival with all the information and all the possibilities so you might start a conversation that you want to have at each booth. If all you want to do is eat your way across the state, ask at each booth for the best made-from-scratch restaurant. Or, if you have a quest to find the oldest brick building in each town, ask that question. In other words, make the festival work for you.

If I were going from booth to booth, I'd get a state map and take it with me and circle every city that intrigues me.

One thing the festival does is surprise people about all there is to see and do in Kansas. One geographically-based tent after another is filled with people braggin' and explainin' about what their corner of the state has to offer. It's mind-boggling to have all this information in one place on one weekend. Mind-boggling in an inspiring way.

Your road work might turn up a shoe tree down a remote dirt road or a depot museum miles off the main road. You might find a beautiful church, a cemetery on a hill, or some public art in a place that you just didn't expect it.

Kansas road work turns up the unexpected. Hope to see you at a roadside stand somewhere.

Get out and Get Kansas!

KE #2 Marci Penner