Big Kansas Road Trip: This Weekend in HPPR Land!
Thanks so much to Donna Price (Sherman County Convention & Visitors Bureau) for spending some time with High Plains Morning today, sharing details about the Big Kansas Road Trip (BKRT) which is going on May 2nd through May 5th. In 2019, they’re highlighting three counties—Cheyenne, Sherman, and Wallace—while also celebrating the Land and Sky Byway by sending travelers through these treasured rural communities. Developed by the Kansas Sampler Foundation, this endeavor encourages folks from Kansas and neighboring states to hit the road and enjoy the hidden gems of the Sunflower State. To hear our full interview, click the link below.
MORE INFO ABOUT THE BIG KANSAS ROAD TRIP:
WHAT IS the Big Kansas Road Trip?
The Big Kansas Road Trip... In a way, it's about pie. Let me explain. Kansas communities are bolstered by people who love to explore. How can we help grow that audience?
What if we showcase maybe two or three counties on a designated long weekend?
Maybe we could get people hooked by modeling how to explore, by providing all sorts of places to see and do.
The idea is to get people onto back roads and into Kansas towns to actually see places (not just look at brochures), to actually eat in local cafes (not just see pictures of food), and to talk to and get to know the locals (not just see them as statistics).
You can tell people about a good piece of made-from-scratch pie but it's nothing like actually smelling the aroma of it and taking that first bite and making swirls with the filling that drips on the plate and mixing it with the little pieces of sugar-y crust. Eating a pie in the location it's made is priceless. There is nothing like being there.
The Big Kansas Road Trip is designed to turn people on to exploring by doing it and to do it in a way that will help sustain our communities.
Do you know why Oscar's in Hoxie has a longhorn outside its door?
Because Michelle Foote, the owner, remembers one lone steer in her dad's cow herd! She's now named her restaurant after that steer and has called it Oscar. Inside you'll find modern decor that helps you focus on the espresso, the French press coffee, gourmet boards, and healthy specials.
How do you get a ride on the carousel in Wilmore?
First of all, how does a town of 55 even have a first-rate carousel? That's crazy but Wilmore has one because Ernie always wanted one. You just honk your horn and Ernie will come out, open the doors and give you a wonderful ride!
...people who have never been to your towns and countryside before fall in love with what rural communities offer?
...the charm of the unexpected inspires people to get hooked on exploring all over the state?
...they are a thoughtful audience, spend money, and tell everyone about their experience?
It could all be a really good thing.
All communities have to do is be the best
they can be at being themselves.
WHAT DO TOWNS FEATURED ON THE BIG KANSAS ROAD TRIP NEED TO DO?
Just be yourself. Just have your businesses showcase themselves at their best.
This isn't an event. There won't be tents, parades, or food vendors. It's just about inviting the public to your community to see what you are all about. It's about businesses and people being open and friendly.
If a town or business wants to spruce up, that is up to them.
If they want to do something special that's their choice, but nothing additional is expected.
If businesses want to be open through the weekend, that would be advantageous to them and to the public, but it's up to them.
In other words, your town is the amusement park and each business or park or cemetery or scenic drive is one of the rides.
Golfers will want to golf in each county.
Some people will want to go inside the courthouse in each county.
Foodies will want to eat in all the restaurants with made-from-scratch food.
Art lovers will want to see all the art around the county.
Some people will want to see each veteran's memorial.
Some might want to relax by going to movies in the evening.
THE PUBLIC WILL LOVE what rural offers. They'll love the quirks and the things you don't find in bigger cities. There may be scavenger hunts and contests. An action bingo card could include crossing two cattle guards, sticking your toes in three lakes, buying $18.61 worth of groceries, teeter-tottering in four towns, and on and on.
There could be scheduled highlights. Like at 10:45 a.m. on Saturday morning everyone will meet at a grain scale house to see how much everyone weighs together. Perhaps there will be a bus for the people who want a guided tour to all the art in the showcased counties.
Maybe a town or two will want to do a BYOLC. That's a "Bring Your Own Lawn Chair" event. The public would bring lawn chairs and sit in the street and listen to a variety of people tell about their role in keeping a small town alive and thriving.
Kansas Explorer Club members will have flags in their car windows and identifying buttons or t-shirts. They'll have an Explorer Meeting somewhere fun. Marci will do the Stump in several towns.
Itineraries for each element, or mixed elements, could lead people through the showcased areas. Here are some examples statewide of the rural culture elements.
ARCHITECTURE: The great thing about exploring is that you just find stuff. You find things like this grand old house out in a field. It wasn't in the brochure, it wasn't expected. Road trippin' is about what it does inside you. It's the search, the journey.
ART: Look closely. This is a mural on the side of a building in Tonganoxie. It's a great picture, isn't it? Oh but it's so much better in person.
COMMERCE: This strange looking matrix of silver towers, poles, and wires is a Doppler radar system near Hays that looks at the highest levels of the atmosphere. To see it is to be wowed by it!
CUISINE: People will be surprised with the terrific made-from-scratch food they can find in rural areas. This cafe in Bunker Hill produces some of the best and freshest food in the state. There's nothing like being here to become a believer.
CUSTOMS: We'll encourage people to buy stamps and help them understand how revenue keeps offices in small towns open and can help extend the hours.
GEOGRAPHY: Daring to do dirt leads to the best scenery and what you see is almost always unexpected.
HISTORY: It feels adventurous to be driving around in the country and come across a big ol' stone that tells the story of a long-gone settlement.
PEOPLE: This is Heidi at Union Square Fresh Seven Coffee in St. Francis. The magic happens as soon as the conversation starts. Before you know it, you have a new friend, a new feeling for St. Francis, and you can't wait to tell your friends to come visit this town. Meeting the people of Kansas is the very best thing about exploring.