Dressing Up for the 70th Anniversary of WaKeeney’s Christmas Tree

70 years logoThis year marks the 70thanniversary of the “Christmas City of the High Plains” and we are planning a celebration that will be bigger and more festive than ever before!

The WaKeeney “elves” are busy sprucing up the historic 1950 decorations and adding to the town’s many holiday attractions to make our town sparkle with holiday spirit and community pride.

You can become part of the effort, too!

 

“Too Lit to Quit” T-shirts

The “Too Lit to Quit” t-shirt is the official shirt celebrating the 70thanniversary of our annual Christmas event. It’s a nod toward the LED color-changing parimeter lights that were installed in 2018 during the “Get Lit” initiative. Today, you’ll find them brightening up Main Street throughout the year to celebrate holidays and events happening in our town.

The “Too Lit to Quit” t-shirts can be preordered now at the Bonfire online store, with a delivery time of 15 days. (Orders placed after the initial start date of July 15th will be filled in 15-day increments.) They come in grey/black, blue, purple, red, and Christmas green, with the official 70thanniversary and the “Too Lit to Quit” logos printed in white. The shirts can be ordered as a short sleeve or long sleeve shirt, in sizes Youth, to 3XL. The unisex classic crewneck style t-shirt is made from a long-lasting, durable 60-40 cotton/polyester blend that is combed and ringspun for a soft texture and premium feel. You can have them delivered to your home, or save on shipping charges by having them delivered to the central WaKeeney distribution point, Malay’s Market.

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The New Santa House

The proceeds from the sale of the shirts will go toward building the new Santa house in North Pole Park. This project has just gotten underway and promises to be a magical place where kids can tell their secret wishes to our annual guest of honor; Santa Clause!

Get the Christmas spirit started early by purchasing a “Too Lit to Quit” t-shirt and help us celebrate the 70thAnniversary of the Christmas City of the High Plains! The ceremony will be held on Saturday, November 28th, two days after Thanksgiving, in  Downtown WaKeeney!

Where to Go to Enjoy Time Outside in Trego County

Looking for something safe to do with your kids during this unexpected school closure and Spring Break? Trego County has many sites and landmarks that are great places to learn and play outdoors!

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Hiking and Fishing at Cedar Bluff State Park & Reservoir

Cedar Bluff State Park & Reservoir is continuing to rise and it’s currently at the highest point it’s been in years! State Park officials have turned on the water to the Despatch and Hoonii Campgrounds. The North bathhouse (located by the rental cabins) is open for public use.

Your child will be thrilled when they hook a fish at Pa’s Pond. Located in the Bluffton Area on the North Shore, this is a stocked pond with shade trees that are perfect for a picnic when the weather is nice.

The Cedar Bluff Office is closed to public access at this time and staff will be available by phone. We encourage everyone to use the HuntFish KS and Campit KS apps to purchase all your privileges and reservations prior to visiting the park.

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Let your kids run off extra energy at Cedar Bluff State Park’s 5-mile Agave Ridge Nature Trail. The first mile is paved and an easy walk for everyone. Interpretive signs of flora and fauna in the area. The next four miles is a mowed trail that leads to a beautiful view of the 100-ft. bluffs that gives the park its name. This is a more difficult trail for ambitious hikers. Spring is the perfect time to see the blooming flowers and playful animals enjoying the warm weather and this is a great trail to view them.

The Agave Ridge Trail is accessed through the Page Creek Area on the South Shore of Cedar Bluff State Park and is managed on Wildlife Area lands; vehicle permits are required to access the trail head.


NOTE: The bridge over the Cedar Bluff Reservoir spillway is currently under construction on K-147 until August 2020. The road is closed for 1.8 miles, but the rest of the highway is open to travelers. KDOT has created a 60-mile detour around the lake. For a shorter detour, take one of Trego County’s scenic country roads, such as TR CO U or X. Just Make sure road conditions are good, especially after wet weather.

To get to the North Shore: Access to all the north side landmarks can be reached as usual from I-70 at the Ogallah exit traveling south on K-147. (Emanuel Lutheran Church, the Bluffton Campground, Cedar Bluff State Park’s office, Threshing Machine Canyon, and the BOD Marker) 

To Get to the South Shore: Access the South Shore by traveling north on K-147 from Hwy 4 at Brownell. (Page Creek Campground, Agave Ridge Hiking Trail, and the Scenic Bluff Overlook)


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Paleontology on the Prairie

Science class is right under your feet at Castle Rock, the Badlands. Go fossil hunting for sharks’ teeth that date back millions of years to when the Great Inland Sea divided the North America continent in half.

Your kids can imagine the giant prehistoric fish that once lived in the rock’s nooks and crannies and swam right above their heads. The geological features of the Kansas prairie are also a perfect example of how water and wind affect rocks over millions of years.

A Wildlife Safari

Bring your binoculars with you to catch a glimpse of a few of our wild neighbors. White tail and mule deer, coyotes, jackrabbits, and a prairie songbirds, like meadowlarks and red winged blackbirds, fill our prairie. Early morning is the best time to see these animals but beware of rattlesnakes in the rocky areas where they may be sunning themselves.

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Smoky Valley Scenic Byway

The stories of our ancestors come to life at historical landmarks along the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway. Look for one of the Butterfield Overland Despatch (B.O.D.) limestone posts along Hwy. 147 south of Cedar Bluff State Park’s Bluffton Area. It’s just one several markers placed along the historic Smoky Hill Trail in the 1960s to map out the route early pioneers used to travel to the Colorado gold mines over 100 years ago.

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The Wilcox School

Visit one of the last remaining rural schoolhouses in Trego County, Wilcox School. It’s a great opportunity to point out how different students experienced school over a hundred years ago. To get to the school travel 15-miles south on Hwy. 283 south of WaKeeney. Several interpretive panels in the windows tell how the school was used 1886 to the present day and one panel will help you learn more about the native wildflowers found along the byway during the growing season.

Stop at the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway’s informational kiosks located along Hwy. 283 and WaKeeney’s Eisenhower Park at Exit 127 for more lessons on the history and environment of our county and city.

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History and Fun at WaKeeney’s City Parks

WaKeeney is home to great parks and playgrounds. Let them run free on the vast lawn of the Courthouse Square in Downtown WaKeeney.

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Plan a picnic at the Swimming Pool Park. With playground equipment for all ages and covered shelters, families can spend hours at the park without running out of things to do.

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City Landmarks

WaKeeney is home to several war memorials that illustrate America’s role in conflicts around the globe and the sacrifices made by the men and women of our military.

Iwo Jima Memorial

You’ll find the Iwo Jima Memorial at I-70’s east Exit #128, an F-14 jet at Eisenhower Park, a Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial at Courthouse Square, and the KansasVeteran’s Cemetery one mile north of the Iwo Jima memorial on Hwy. 283.

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 Time Out for Parents at Big Creek Golf Course

Spend time teach your kids the game of golf at Big Creek Golf Course. The nine-hole course is arolling prairie with native Buffalo grass fairways and lush, watered greens. With a yardage of 6251, a slope of 122 and a rating of 69.6, you’ll have the opportunity to send that ball sailing in an arc across the big, beautiful prairie sky.

More Ideas

There are even more ways to enjoy time outside in Trego County!

TJH Kay has put together a “Social Distancing Scavenger Hunt” for March 25-April 15. The “Pillars of Education” theme encourages the community to display things in their windows that correspond with the topic of the week. Kids can find them when they are out on walks and enter weekly to win the Family Prize Pack by texting (785) 769-3297 or posting a picture of your participation on KAY Sponsor Stacie Edgett Minson’s Facebook page. (Check out the flyer above for ideas to place in your window.)

Take your little ones on a “Bear Hunt” through town. Several of our citizens have placed teddy bears in the windows of their homes for kids to look for as they pass by. Check out the Facebook page dedicated to the event for more information.

Geocaching is a great way to explore the outdoors through a challenging game and give your kids a lesson about how to use coordinates to locate landmarks.

Anyone who’s attended TCHS knows the glory of “dragging Main,” so let’s crank up the tunes and do it again! Drag Main – WaKeeney! Let’s Do It Again! will be held Saturday, March 28that 8pm. There will be a box on the corner of First Federal for anyone who would like to donate non-perishable items to family food boxes. This is a repeat of an earlier event that saw great success, with over 70 cars and 124 canned goods and other items donated to our friends in need. Check out their Facebook page for more information.

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Family Memories

While it’s important to social distance ourselves at this time, you don’t have to stay indoors. Get out and make some memories with your kids! You’ll find many activities and learning opportunities right outside your door in Trego County.

 

Limestone: Trego County’s Foundation Stone

Throughout Trego County you’ll find unique white rock formations breaking through our vast prairie. These chalky outcroppings are evidence of the great Western Inland Seaway that divided the North American continent millions of years ago. Today, you’ll find the same rock has been used in many of the most notable buildings you’ll find on the Great Plains.

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Niobrara Chalk

The majority of the limestone found within Trego County’s borders is classified as Niobrara Chalk, a geologic deposit created between 85 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period. It is a soft stone formed from calcium deposits that easily flakes apart to reveal fossils of plesiosaurs, mosasaurs, pterosaurs, sharks, and primitive aquatic birds.

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Fossilized Oyster Shells, Image by James St. John

Geological maps show the largest deposits of Niobrara Chalk limestone are located in the southern section of Trego County in the Smoky Hill River Valley, where you’ll find exposed sections at Cedar Bluff Overlook in the Cedar Bluff State Park and Castle Rock southwest of Collyer. More examples are to be found at Monument Rocks in neighboring Gove County and at Little Jerusalem, Kansas’s newest state park which is located south of Oakley. For a tour of these sites head south from WaKeeney on Hwy. 283 to begin at Cedar Bluff State Park & Reservoir, then follow the Smoky Hill River Valley west to each of these formations in Trego, Gove, and Logan Counties.

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Greenhorn Limestone

Greenhorn limestone, or Post Rock, is a hard limestone found along Trego County’s eastern border. It was formed during the Late Cretaceous period along with Niobrara limestone and includes many of the same marine animal fossils found in the softer, chalky variety of limestone. Today, it is quarried along the eastern border of Trego County.

Due to the lack of wood on the grassy prairie, Post Rock limestone was a primarybuilding materialin the 1800’s. Many early construction projects in Trego County relied on this hard stone, when city founders Albert Warren and James Keeney created their “Queen City of the High Plains.” Here are a few of the most notable buildings that utilized limestone quarried in Trego County.

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The Trego County Courthouse

Built between 1888-1889, the grand Trego County Courthouse is an American Queen Anne style building. At the time of its construction it featured an Elizabethan frontage and a 100-foot cupola imported from Europe. The limestone used on its exterior is Post Rock that was quarried locally, as well as limestone brought from Manhattan, KS.

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The building has undergone a few changes since its construction, but still retains its original limestone exterior.

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Kansas Pacific Railway Depot

WaKeeney’s Kansas Pacific Railway Depot was an ornate railway station completed in 1879 with limestone found along the Saline River and Big Creek. On July 4, 1879, Warren, Keeney & Co. held a grand celebration to advertise their land sales. The Governor of Kansas was present and made a speech from the new depot’s platform. At the time, the magnificent, stone railway depot was described as the best and most modern facility between Kansas City and Denver.  It was acquired by the Union Pacific Railroad and housed their operations until the 1930’s, and later demolished.

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WaKeeney Opera House

One of the most impressive limestone buildings in Trego County was the WaKeeney Opera House. In 1884, this large, attractive building was the center of WaKeeney’s activities, and  entertainment. It had a seating capacity of 400 and featured ornate murals on the ceiling and walls and a large brass chandelier with Rochester electric lamps. The Oprah House cost $20,000 to build andhoused grocery stores, newspapers offices, land offices, real estate agents, the post office, a bank, the school, and the opera hall. This fine example of Great Plains architecture was destroyed by fire on February 4, 1895 and today the site is home to the Trego County Health Department.

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Emanuel Lutheran Church

Today’s Emanuel Lutheran Church used limestone quarried from nearby Threshing Machine Canyon located along the Smoky Hill Trail. It was built by Swedish immigrants in 1902 and was originally christened as the Swedish Evangelical Emmanuel Lutheran Church.

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WaKeeney Municipal Building

The WaKeeney Municipal Building was a project planned in 1937 by the Work Project Administration (WPA) as part of the President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal initiative. It incorporates native limestone blocks in a modern design, with a broad staircase that leads up to a sheltered portico.

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The Wilcox School

The Wilcox School, a one-room schoolhouse located 16-miles south of WaKeeney, was built in 1886 with limestone quarried by area’s early settlers along the Smoky Hill River. They cut it from the river’s south shore and hauled the stone to the building site across natural fords or low-water bridges. Visitors can see this historic landmark up close by traveling south on Hwy. 283.

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B.O.D. Markers

A more recent addition of Post Rock to our landscape are the B.O.D. markers travelers can follow along the historic route of the Butterfield Overland Despatch, Smoky Hill Trail. In 1960, Historian Howard C. Raynesford of Ellis, KS researched the location of the trail and had the posts erected at points where it crossed a North/South road. The markers are engraved with “BOD – 1865” and stand on a concrete base that offers more information.

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 Visit the Trego County Historical Museum

To learn more about our region’s limestone deposits we invite you to visit the Trego County Historical Society Museum. Don’t forget to check out the Purinton Fossil Collection which includes many fine examples Cretaceous period creatures that were in both Niobrara and Post Rock limestone.

 

 

Community Support in the “Christmas City of the High Plains”

Merry Christmas from the “Christmas City of the High Plains!”

People from around the world have come to WaKeeney to celebrate the holidays and make special memories with family and friends under the lights of our famous tree. Located on I-70 halfway between Kansas City and Denver, Colorado, it’s the perfect place for people to gather to celebrate the holiday season. Throughout the year our citizens contribute their time, talents, and funding to continue this wonderful tradition and we’d like to thank them and the organizations who make our Christmas Festival a one-of-a-kind event for everyone.

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Christmas in Downtown WaKeeney

Stringing up thousands of Christmas lights is never an easy job and it takes a team of professionals to get the job done right.

The effort begins long before the Christmas Festival on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Workers from the City of WaKeeney prepare the decorations, wrapping the lights and fresh greenery onto the tree’s metal framework and getting them ready to install. Then, along with workers from Midwest Energy, Western Cooperative Electric, KDOT, and Nex-Tech, they take to their bucket trucks to install everything within a couple of days. We truly appreciate their years of dedicated service to making this event happen, in rain, wind, and snow.

The business community of Downtown WaKeeneyhas supported the Christmas Festival faithfully for 69 years and by doing so have made WaKeeney a special place to celebrate the holidays. This year Christi Werth and Skylin Day at TWI Insurance Services were behind the planning of all the Santa’s Downtown Workshop activities—a fun event kids look forward to every year.

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The Festival Program

What would Christmas be without the sound of Christmas carols, holiday displays, and Christmas cheer? Volunteers from local organizations and private citizens generously offer their talents to create a festival program full of Christmas spirit. Along with the many supporting volunteers, this year we relied on Tom Kreutzer as our master of ceremonies, the Rev. Jon Anderson from the Zion Lutheran Church as our officiant representing the Trego County Ministerial Alliance, and Anita Schneider who led the crowd in singing our favorite Christmas carols.

 

Christmas Spirit Around Town

WaKeeney residents showed a lot of Christmas spirit in 2019 by decorating their homes and yards early with festive colors and lights. The merchants of Santa’s Downtown Workshop rewarded their efforts by holding a contest for the best decorated home. The winning homeowner received a prize of $100 in Wampum bucks they could use at any of the participating Downtown WaKeeney businesses.

Festival guests also had the opportunity to go back in time with the Trego County Historical Society Museum. The “Twelve Days of Christmas” display features Christmas scenes and décor from years past, including the original miniature prototype for the famous 35-foot tree located at the city’s center. The exhibit runs from November 30thto January 6th, so it’s not too late to see if something you remember from your grandma’s house is included!

The VFW Auxiliary kept all our guests warm at their annual Soup Supper. We’ve all come to look forward to the delicious bowls of homemade soup and desserts their members cook up to celebrate the community spirit. Nothing tastes better than a hot bowl of soup on a cold winter’s night!

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Christmas Shopping Made Easy

Christmas shopping was made easy this year when over forty vendors from the Trego Co. Home-Based Business Association offered their wares during the 19thAnnual Christmas Bazaar. This year’s event was so large it filled the Fairground’s Commercial and 4-H buildings, and the TCHS Commons area with products that ranged from home décor, to health and beauty. The Home-based vendors are an important part of our festivities and we appreciate all the work they do throughout the year to fill this event with their exciting products.

The merchants of Downtown WaKeeney continued their tradition of keeping their doors open for extended hours of shopping. They offered their customers great holiday specials and participated in “Santa’s Downtown Workshop” where children enjoyed different crafts and activities at each of their stores. They also added to the season of giving by sponsoring many giveaways and activities for our festival guests.

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Support from Our Local Officials

Support from the officials of the City of WaKeeney is vital to making the Christmas Festival a success. Mayor Kenneth Roy and our City Council Members: Irene Dirks, John Fose, Brandon Payne, Lynelle Shubert, and Allen Weigel and City Administrator Hardy Howard designate funding for the festival. They split the overall cost of supplies—the fresh greenery, light bulbs, etc.–with the Travel & Tourism Department and allow city employees to get them ready for installation.

As they do throughout the year, officers from the WaKeeney City Police Department and the Trego County Sheriff’s Department were present to help guide traffic and ensure that everyone had a safe holiday celebration. Their presence also provided members of our community a great opportunity to meet the people who keep us safe and prepare Child ID Kits for their children.

A special thank you goes to the members of WaKeeney’s Travel & Tourism Committee for the time and attention they dedicate to making the Christmas Festival a memorable event. Appointed by the City of WaKeeney, this volunteer,seven-member committee includes Lynelle Shubert, Tasha Malay, Skylin Day, Cindy Scanlon, Brianna LaMotte, Kirk Johnston, & Mark Wood and is led by its director, Cathy Albert. Their dedication is the foundation of everything we enjoy at the Christmas Festival.

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Our Special Guest: Santa Claus

Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a visit from Santa Claus! Lynelle & John Shubert drove the man of the hour and his elf down Main St. accompanied by two local drummers, Dawson Arnold and Alex Cleland. After flipping the switch that turned on the tree’s lights, Santa and his elf visited with children at Gibson’s Health Mart, where they told him all their wishes for Christmas.

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Thanking the Community

Our gratitude extends to the entire community of WaKeeney for their continued support of the events surrounding the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. The traditions found in our “Christmas City of the High Plains” would not be possible without their participation. They’ve helped us and our guests celebrate and create treasured memories that will last a lifetime.

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Looking Forward to the 70thAnniversary Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in 2020

Next year will be extra special, as we celebrate seventy years as the “Christmas City of the High Plains.” In preparation, we will be building a new Santa House in North Pole Park, funded by a grant from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation. We are also continuing to sell the “Get Lit” t-shirts for $10 each to complete fundraising for the installation of perimeter lights on the Courthouse, a project planned for Spring 2020.

Thank you to all the people who have joined us in celebrating the holidays in WaKeeney, the “Christmas City of the High Plains!”

Remembering Veterans at the “Wreaths Across America” Ceremony

The Kansas Veterans’ Cemetery in WaKeeney will continue the tradition of honoring members of the military at the annual “Wreaths Across America” ceremony on Saturday, December 14, at 11am. The event follows the exact same program held at Arlington Cemetery in Washington D.C. and will give our visitors the opportunity to show appreciation for the sacrifices made by our military men and women.

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Master of ceremonies Errol Wuertz of the Civil Air Corp. will lead the ceremony, with Rev. Stanton offering the benediction and invocation. This will be followed by a 21-gun salute and taps performed by the Colby VFW Honor Guard during the gravesite laying of the wreaths. Families are welcome to dress their loved one’s graves, and members of the American Legion Riders and Smoky Hill Composite Squadron will lay wreaths for those service members whose families are unable to attend the event.

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Seven specially made wreaths have been donated by the Worcester Wreath Company, the same supplier of the wreaths laid at Arlington National Cemetery. Each wreath recognizes a different branch of the military: the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, as well as the Merchant Marines and the POWs.

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The “Wreaths Across America” ceremony is a very special event for our citizens. Please join us on Saturday, December 14th, at 11am to honor our Kansas veterans and veterans around the world.

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Other WaKeeney Sites that Honor our Military

After the ceremony has concluded take a tour around WaKeeney to find monuments that honor our country’s military. Get up close to an F-14 jet in Eisenhower Park, visit the Memorial to Iwo Jimaat I-70’s Exit 128, and stroll through the Trego County Courthouse Square in Downtown WaKeeney to a memorial to veterans of all foreign wars.

Iwo Jima Memorial

Celebrate the soldier’s sacrifice at the Kansas Veterans’ Cemetery in WaKeeney on Saturday, December 14th, at 11am during the “Wreaths Across America.”

Celebrating the Holidays at WaKeeney’s 69th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting

It’s Christmastime in WaKeeney, Kansas!

Our community elves have decorated the streets of Downtown WaKeeney with garlands and greenery in anticipation of the 69th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on November 30th. It’ll be a day of holiday activities, community gatherings, and Christmas shopping to help you get ready for the Christmas season to come.

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Christmas Bazaar

Place: Trego County Fairgrounds & TCHS Commons

Time: 9 AM – 4 PM

Finding the perfect gift for your hard-to-buy-for friend is easy at the Trego County Home Based Business Association’s 2019 Christmas Bazaar. Vendors are offering a variety of household and beauty items, handmade Christmas decorations, and much, much more!Don’t forget to treat yourself to one of these festive finds!

This year the Bazaar has grown to fill three buildings; the Commercial and 4-H Buildings at the Fairgrounds, as well as the commons area inside the High School across the street. Along with vendor booths, there will be holiday music, door prizes, and a delicious lunch stand to keep you full while you shop.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Display

Place: Trego County Historical Society Museum

Time: 10 AM – 4 PM

Visit Christmas-past at the Trego County Historical Society Museum. The return of their special holiday display “The Twelve Days of Christmas” will be open to the public every day the museum is open from November 30thto January 6th. The collection features holiday and winter treasures from the past that many of us remember fondly from our parents’ and grandparents’ homes.

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FREE Santa’s Sleigh Virtual Reality Ride

Tickets: VFW Hall (Booth opens at 2:30 PM)

Time: 3 — 8:30 PM

Experience the excitement of riding in Santa’s sleigh with a turn at the virtual reality experience VR InMotion’s “Santa’s Sleigh Ride!”This popular attraction is a favorite among Trego’s residents, so get your FREE tickets at the VFW Hall before heading off to “sit” in the passenger seat of Santa’s sleigh.

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Live Reindeer

Place: Main Street

Time: 4 – 8 PM

Meet the animals Santa relies on to get his packages to everyone around the world. Our reindeer guests will be found on Main Street in Downtown WaKeeney. These ambassadors from the North Pole will be waiting, right along with all of us, for Santa’s arrival later under our Christmas tree.

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Child ID Kit

Place: VFW Hall

Time: 4 – 5:30 PM

Give yourself the gift of peace of mind this year by completing a child ID kit with the Trego County Sheriff’s Department for each of your children. The event is open to everyone and will ensure that your child’s information is up-to-date and handled safely.

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Soup Supper

Place: VFW Hall

Time: 4:30 PM

The community spirit is alive and well at the VFW Auxiliary’s Annual Soup Supper. Come one, come all to this communal meal and enjoy a delicious bowl of homemade soup and dessert made by the talent chefs of WaKeeney’s VFW. There will also be a raffle during the event.

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Santa’s Downtown Workshop

Place: Main Street

Time: 5 – 8 PM

Make the rounds of WaKeeney’s Downtown business community and fill your shopping cart with holiday cheer! Visit each store to find great holiday gift ideas, crafts for the kids, and games, snacks and drinks for everyone! Look for the “Santa’s Downtown Workshop” posters at participating businesses and enjoy some shopping time before Santa’s arrival.

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69thAnnual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Place: Main Street & Russell Avenue

Time: 6 PM

Gather together with friends and loved ones under WaKeeney’s 35-foot Christmas Tree to witness the big moment when the Christmas lights go on and our holiday season officially begins in WaKeeney! Throughout the four-blocks of Downtown WaKeeney you’ll find all the colors of the rainbow in swags, border lights and, of course, our beautiful tree in the center of it all. The lights stay on through the New Year to keep our spirits merry and light throughout the Holiday Season!

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Santa Claus Arrives with Children’s Treats

Place: North Pole Park

FREE Tickets: VFW Hall (Booth opens at 2:30 PM)

Time: 6:15 — 8:30 PM

Get your wish list ready for your visit to Santa! All the good boys and girls will have a chance to sit on the big guy’s lap inside his own “Santa’s workshop” located in North Pole Park on Main Street. Children can tell Santa what they want for Christmas, receive a treat, and check to see if they are on his “Nice” list.

 

The annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is held every year on the Saturday night following Thanksgiving. The lights will be turned on every night after that until after the New Year begins. Viewing our Downtown light display is always free to the public and visitors travel from miles around to enjoy the bright lights that decorate our town. It is considered one of the largest Christmas light displays in Kansas and gives WaKeeney the distinction of being “The Christmas City of the High Plains.”

Start the Christmas season with family and friends under WaKeeney’s Christmas lights on November 30that the 69thAnnual Christmas Tree Lighting! We’re conveniently located on I-70, halfway between Kansas City and Denver, 300 miles either direction.

Halloween Goodies in Downtown WaKeeney

Halloween is a treat in Downtown WaKeeney! This year there are even more scary-fun things to do for all ages and spirits, so hop on your broom and get yourself to WaKeeney this Halloween!

 

Halloween Arts & Crafts at The Studio 128 (Throughout the month)

The crafty witches and wizards at The Studio 128 have been busy with a month full of Halloween projects. Painting, crafting, and pumpkin decorating have been on the agenda, with more to come. Owner Lynelle Shubert has many ideas for fun Halloween décor at her art studio. For more information on what’s to come contact The Studio 128 at 785.814.7170.

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Trego Grade School Halloween Parade (Thursday, October 31st)

Pint-sized ghouls descend on Trego Grade School on Halloween. Grades pre-k to 5th will be celebrating the holiday with a parade though the school gym at 2:10pm. Parents and the public are invited to watch from the stands as the kids show off their scariest looks. Call the Trego Grade School (785.743.2472) for more information.

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Halloween Festivities in Downtown WaKeeney(Thursday, October 31st)

The werewolves will be howling down Main St. as our scary residents fill Downtown WaKeeney for the Annual Halloween Festival. The free public event begins at 4:30pm on Main and Russell, with businesses handing out candy to Trick or Treaters.

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At 5:15pm there will be costume contests for 0 to pre-k, k to 5th grade, and 6th grade and up for Best Overall Costume, Scariest Costume, and Most Original Costume. The festival includes TCHS social clubs overseeing games on the Courthouse lawn and at 5:30pm the Trego Rec Center will be hosting a free hot dog feed for everyone. Call the Trego Recreation Commission at 785.743.2595 for more information about these events.

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The Studio’s 128’s Murder Mystery Dinner (Saturday, November 2nd)

The “Murder Mystery Dinner,” an interactive event, is backand better than ever! This year the harrowing hosts at The Studio 128 will be offering a frightfully fun dinner with mock intestines, “eyeball” salad, a meatloaf created severed hand, along with other fun and delicious dishes. The mystery will occur throughout the event, with the murderer and victim being chosen at the beginning of the evening and prizes for the person who solves the mystery, best costume, best character, and best actor/actress given out at the end of the event. Come in costume and find out “who dun it!” (There are only twenty-five seats available, so call The Studio 128 at 785.814.7170 to reserve your seat today.)

Stir up a cauldron of fun in WaKeeney this Halloween! There will be fun and frights throughout the night on October 31st.

 

Hunters Get Ready for the 2019-2020 Season in Trego County

The 2019-2020 hunting season is nearly upon us and Trego County is one of the best places to bag your limit of upland birds, and deer species.

The Smoky Hill region has a combined 438, 512 acres of public and Walk-in Hunting Access (WIHA) land that are available to hunters. These acres are full of pheasant, quail, turkey and mule and white-tail deer, making Trego County a hunter’s paradise. There are several businesses that cater to hunters, with guides, outfitters, and accommodations to suit every need.

Down North Outfitters

Rely on the life experience of Brandon and Brett Hille of Down North Outfitters to outfit and guide your hunt. The brother’s 4500-acre ranch has been their playground since they were kids, making them experts on the best places to find game. They’ll help you flush outwhitetail and mule deer from creek bottoms and fowl from the tall grass prairie.

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Down North Outfitters offer both guided and semi-guided hunts, and can help you with licensing and permits. Their land is located in southern Trego County along the Smoky Hill River.

For more information check the Down North Outfitters website: www.downnorthoutfitters.com or email them at downnorthoutfitters@gmail.com.

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Book Your Stay in Trego County Today!

Book your hunting trip in Trego County! With nine lodges, hotels, and B & Bs throughout our county, you’ll find a comfortable place to rest after a day out in the fields.

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Butterfield Trail Bunkhouse is a rustic guesthouse near Cedar Bluff State Park where hunting opportunities are just outside the door. It is located 14-miles south of WaKeeney on a working ranch and near natural gathering places for wildlife.

The bunkhouse accommodates up to four people and there is a fully stocked kitchen and a cleaning station available to prepare your pheasants for the trip home. Don’t forget to pre-order your home cooked meals when you book your stay if you don’t want to cook during your trip.

23033 T Road
WaKeeney, KS 67672

Phone: 785.769.3194
Email: wddeines@ruraltel.net

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The Country Barn Loft B & B is located only a few miles north of Cedar Bluff State Park and Reservoir and offers a truly unique lodging experience in this 1951 historic barn.

The repurposed barn wood used on the arched ceilings and walls and a barn style interior door gives this B & B an upscale country look. There are eight beds and a kitchenette inside this peaceful lodge, and skylights upstairs keep the loft bright throughout the day. A homemade breakfast is delivered hot to your door every morning and there is also onsite boarding available for your dogs.

19065 28th Ave.
WaKeeney, KS 67672

Phone: 785.743.5662
Email: jpwhite@ruraltel.net

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The Collyer Hunting Lodge and Family Getaway is a comfortable country home specially designed for hunters. It is located one mile off I-70 and ideal for large hunting parties.

It can accommodate up to twelve hunters and features a full kitchen, Direct TV & free WiFi, and onsite laundry facilities. Well-behaved dogs are welcome in this newly renovated home.

704 Ainslie Avenue
Collyer, KS 67631

Phone: 530.933.8229
Email: coloradorachel@outlook.com

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Cottage Garden Air B & B is an historic 1906 guest house located in the heart of Downtown WaKeeney where you can find everything you need to get you out on the hunt.

The cottage has two bedrooms and accommodates 8 people, a bath and a shower, a fully equipped kitchen and laundry facilities, air conditioning, free WiFi, and a smart TV. Enjoy the evening relaxing in the cozy sunroom.

510 Warren Avenue
WaKeeney, KS 67672

Phone: 785.743.2644
Email: wildflowermary@yahoo.com

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The WaKeeney KOA (open until November 15) is a great option for hunters who prefer to bed down in their camper during their hunting trip. Pull thru RV sites are spacious and can accommodate all types and sizes, without requiring you to unhook.

Sites include access to 50/30 amp or 30 amp electric, water, sewer, cable TV and grass to relax on. Grass tent sites are large and private with access to electricity and water nearby. Cabins are also available for those who want to camp without a RV or tent and are located near the restroom and shower facilities. The restroom, shower and laundry room facilities are open 24 hours for your convenience and Wi-Fi is accessible throughout the park.

25027 South Interstate
WaKeeney, KS 67672

Phone: 785.743.5612
Email: wakeeneykoa@eaglecom.net

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The Best Western Plus WaKeeney Inn & Suites offers luxury and a complimentary full breakfast for weary hunters. This is a great option for guests who need business services during their stay.

Suites are equipped with free WiFi, dataports, and coffee and tea makers. Their indoor pool offers a nice way to cool off after a day out and their 24-hour front desk will help you with anything you may need during your stay. Even early morning wake-up calls so you won’t miss the best time to hunt!

525 South 1st Street
WaKeeney, KS 67672

Phone: 785.743.2700
Email: bwwakeeney@hotmail.com

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The Kansas Kountry Inn is a vintage roadside motel. If you need to relax in the evening and get a good night’s rest, this is the motel for you!

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Located next to Jake and Chet’s restaurant and the Sundowner Lounge, it’s a clean, comfortable place to set up camp throughout your stay. It provides the basics and is only a few blocks north of I-70.

223 S 1st St.
WaKeeney, KS 67672

Phone: 785.743.2129
Email: judydiec@hotmail.com

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Located at WaKeeney’s east exit, the Super 8 offers the familiarity of a well-known hotel and easy access to Cedar Bluff just a few miles down the road  so you can be out in the field at first light.

Begin your day with a free 8-item SuperStart breakfast and coffee 24 hours a day. Enjoy the privacy of connecting to free WiFi in your room. They offer free WiFi, guest laundry services, free truck and RV parking, and non-smoking suites and accessible rooms. Ask about the plus suites for a “home-away-from-home” style stay.

709 S 13th St.
WaKeeney, KS 67672

Phone: 785.743.6442
Email: wakeeneysuper8@gmail.com

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EconoLodge is positioned right off I-70 at the west exit. It’s a great value, with free WiFi and ample truck parking available.

The Econolodge offers clean, comfortable rooms at a reasonable rate. All rooms feature a coffee maker and TV and some rooms also feature a refrigerator. They offer a free continental breakfast and have a well-lit, large parking lot.

702 South 2nd Street
WaKeeney, KS 67672

Phone: 785-743-5505
Email: gm.ks086@choicehotels.com

 

Get ready for the 2019-2020 hunting season by booking your stay in Trego County today!

A Fast Lane to Fun at the WaKeeney Mini Speedway

The summer racing season is here, and our kart drivers are ready for the checkered flag to fall! Racing fans have already descended on the WaKeeney Mini Speedway, with two races already completed in April and May. Don’t miss out on the rest of the season!

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Racing in the 2019 Season

The official start to the season began in late April, but with six more races on the 2019 schedule there is plenty of time to get to know the racers and watch as the season finds its stand-out competitors. Here’s a rundown of the dates and times for each race.

     June 15 (6pm): Points Race
     June 29: Predator Series Race & Fireworks Points Race
     July 13 & 14: Maxxis Maxx Daddy
     August 10 (6pm): Points Race
     August 24 (6pm): Predator Series Race
     September 28: Last Points Race
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Exciting Events

This year’s schedule includes the exciting two-day Maxxis Maxs Daddy kart racing event on July 13thand 14th. Sponsored by kart tire manufacturer Maxxis, their tires are specially made to handle dirt tracks in any condition and provide a safer, faster race for our drivers. Come out to the track on race days!

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Racing for Everyone

Several different classes are featured at each race, with trophies awarded to winners of each class. The classes include:

     ROOKIE (Age 6 – 8)
     Junior 1 NON Points Class (Age 8 – 12)
     Junior 1 POINTS Class ( (Age 8 – 12)
     Junior 2 NON Points (Age 12 – 15)
     Junior 2 POINTS Class (Age 12 – 15)
     Adult STOCK HEAVY (Age 16 – UP)
     Adult CLONE HEAVY  (Age 16 – UP)
     OPEN  – Age 16 & UP

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A Family Event

A day spent at the WaKeeney Mini Speedway is a great activity for families. Join us in the stands and around the track with free entry for the public. Or purchase a pit pass to visit the drivers and see the karts up close.

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The WaKeeney Mini Speedway is conveniently located at the crossroads of Hwy. 40 and Hwy. 283, just north of the I-70,128 Exit. Check out their website for more information about the races, the schedule, and rules for racing. Announcements about track conditions and updates on the races can be found on their Facebook page.

Hop Into Spring Activities in WaKeeney

Spring has sprung and kids everywhere are itching to get outside and into the warm sunshine. WaKeeney is ready for them, with activities that will get them active, excited, and enjoying Trego County’s beautiful Spring days.

Activities in WaKeeney

Annual Easter Egg Hunt (Saturday, April 20th at 10:30am)

The Easter Bunny will be hopping into WaKeeney for the Trego Recreation Center’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt! Groups will be organized by age (6 months to 5th grade) so all our little bunnies will be able to find a few of the candy-filled Easter eggs. Bring your children to the Trego County Courthouse lawn with their Easter baskets and their sweet tooth for this free fun family event, then stick around after the hunt for prize drawings for each age group. 

Activities in WaKeeney

Father Daughter Dance (Sunday, April 14th at 1:30 –2:30pm)

Be your favorite little lady Prince Charming during an afternoon of dancing at the Trego Recreation’s annual Father Daughter Dance.

Activities in WaKeeney

This annual event will be held the Sunday after the TCHS prom, with the decorations of that night as the backdrop to the 2019 Father Daughter Dance. Either dads or another special person may accompany their special girl between 3 years to 5th grade. The event is $20 per couple and $5 for each additional daughter, which includes a corsage, snacks, dancing, and 2-4×6″ photos. (Photos will be taken between 2-3:30pm, plus other options available for purchase).

Sign up by April 5 to reserve your spot, but don’t wait! This event is very popular.

Activities in WaKeeney

Pee Wee Track Meet (Registration ends April 26th, Track Meet is scheduled for May 8th at 5pm)

Pint-sized runners and field sport stars are gearing up to compete at the TCHS T-ball and Trego Recreation’s 2019 Pee Wee Track Meet!

Activities in WaKeeney

Kids will compete in two group at the TCHS Goldsmith Track, preschoolers to 2nd grade and 3rd to 6th grade. Traditional events will be featured, giving the kids a chance to sample various types of competitive events, 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place ribbons awarded for each event and all the kids will come away with a participation ribbon to reward them for their great sportsmanship. This is a free event for everyone, so come out and cheer on our young athletes!

Get your kids outside and into the fresh air for a great time running, dancing, and hopping into Spring!