Steven Tyler

     Coming up on the first full weekend of May, like clockwork, will be the KANSAS SAMPLER FESTIVAL.  It is with a note of sadness that I will mark it this year and that is because it has been a unique celebration of the state.  No other state has had anything like the Sampler Festival and this year will mark the end of it as we have known it.

     I did not attend the first festivals that were on the Penner Farm between Buhler and Inman 28 years ago, but my folks did and were so impressed with it.  I did not make every one for a variety of reasons some being health, but everyone I attended and worked at was something special.  If you never went you will not know this.  This is the last opportunity to see the fantastic people, attractions, artists, products, and businesses of the Sunflower State.

     In the past there is no bigger group of people who don’t take advantage of or have good feelings about Kansas than Kansan’s themselves.  The unveiling of what is so great about the state is what has driven Marci Penner, Wendee LaPlant, and all the members of the Kansas Sampler Foundation.

     I do not know what the plans are that will replace the Sampler Festival but Marci assures me that there is a brainstorming group of supporters that are working on an idea.  I am looking forward to the results.

     But this is the last time that anyone will be able to go and see the Festival as it has been.  Winfield is the last host and they have worked very hard to make it great.  But all the communities in the past that host it know how much work it is to host.  This is a big part in changing the way it goes on in the future.

     I am hoping to find a way to be there for the last hoorah.  I just have to find something to be my legs.  It has been a long process for me to break out of the mold of looking at Kansas being in the middle of everywhere else you would want to be.  To now seeing and appreciating what a great place and what great people we are.

     The process that has brought me to the endeavor of writing a book of Kansas History that is not well known and easily can be lost, has a direct tie to the work of the Kansas Sampler.  Over the years it would be ‘biblically’ said that the ‘scales have dropped from my eyes’.

     Good Lord willing and the creeks don’t rise I will see you at Winfield on May 6 & 7.  This is at Island Park so I do mean if the creek don’t rise.

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