Archive for Wednesday, June 6, 2007

2nd annual Dairy Days draws 600

Turnout pleases organizers

June 6, 2007

With music, dancing, food and fun, the second-annual Basehor Dairy Days attracted a large crowd to the Basehor-Linwood High School grounds Saturday.

And, while the event was meant to honor the city's rich dairy history, it offered much more.

Music of the Pioneers

Old sing-a-long favorites plucked out on the strings of the Mountain Dulcimer could be heard from the entertainment tent by 10 a.m. The Prairie Dulcimer Club, an organization formed in 1977 to keep dulcimer music alive, brought about 10 of its members to entertain the crowd.

"These are very simple instruments," said Norma Curtice, a member of the Prairie Dulcimer Club. "They're very old instruments that were easy to learn to play for pioneers. You don't have to know how to read music to play. That's the beauty of them."

Instruments included the mountain dulcimer, which is a long wooden or cardboard instrument held across the lap with strings that are plucked, the hammer dulcimer, which is a large square wooden instrument that is played when its strings are struck by hammers, the violin, a guitar and the autoharp.

Well-known favorites such as "You Are My Sunshine" and Elvis' "Can't Help Falling in Love," deemed "The Elvis Song" by the group, were played to get the audience involved.

"Let's play it once so you can all hear it," Katy Waters, Prairie Dulcimer Club vice president, said to the audience. "Then you can all jump in and sing."

The group is made up of about 80 people and about 10 perform at different venues in the area.

"Music is only fun when you can share it with other people," Curtice said. "That's why we have our group."

Therapy for Body and Soul

Relieving stress may have been the last thing on the minds of those at Dairy Days, but Therapeutic Massage of Kansas City, Kan., offered complimentary massages in hopes customers would remember them on a day that was a little less carefree.

"Massage brings the system back into relaxation," said Michael Hanson, massage therapist.

Hanson, along with owner Samantha Turner, set up massage chairs next to the entertainment stage and moved around periodically throughout the day to allow customers to test out their services and hand out cards redeemable at the business for a complimentary 30-minute massage.

Across the grounds, a lifelike drawing of a tiny baby held in the palm of his father's hand was on display at Michealle Mitchener's booth. When Mitchener was asked to draw the stillborn child, she said it changed her life.

Her business started several years ago when she made a birth announcement for her second daughter Cameron. A friend who worked at KMBC 9 News showed the drawing of the child to co-workers. The news station soon contacted Mitchener asking if she would draw the likeness of a child for note cards, which would be sold as a fundraiser for parents who lost children in the Oklahoma City Bombing.

Mitchener's business, BabyFace Illustrations, was born.

While her main focus is on children, she also draws adults and specializes in memorial portrait work for babies. She said the memorial portraits are a way to help parents through rough times and commemorate lost children in a likeness that is peaceful and less harsh than actual photos.

"I didn't know some photos could be so traumatic," she said about photos she has seen of stillborn children. One of her customers felt so good about a drawing of her deceased child, Mitchener said, "I just knew this was what I was supposed to do."

To Serve and Protect

With some coaxing from his family, cadet firefighter Jake McBride, 18, suited up in his gear to climb the ladder extending up from the fire truck in the parking lot and waved from his 105-foot post.

The Fairmount Township Fire Department, along with the Basehor Police Department, Leavenworth County Sheriff's Department and Emergency Medical Services displayed information about their departments. They also showed off their vehicles, promoting goodwill with residents. A LifeFlight helicopter also landed in the area earlier Saturday.

Members of the fire department, including another cadet, Andrew McDonnell, 18, took turns helping small children into the truck for a closer look. The two men just recently finished the department's cadet program when they graduated from high school last month. The pair said they will now go through the formal interview process and will be voted on by the department to join as full time volunteers.

The department currently has 33 volunteers and recently added five paid daytime positions, safety officer Jim Dickey said.

Some are regular firefighters at other departments in the area, but they are all on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through a pager system.

"When a call comes up for our particular area, whoever is available responds to the station," Dickey said.

The department responds to calls involving fires, car wrecks and even snakebites.

"We're up to a little over 200 calls since the first of the year," he said.

The new fire station is up and running now, which includes living quarters for soon-to-be paid 24-hour positions. Dickey said when they take that next step all depends on the growth and development in the area.

"We've got volunteers that have been on here for 30 plus years," he said. "It's difficult at times, but it's rewarding."

Stealing the Show

Decked out in red, white and blue from head to toe and constantly surrounded by children were "Pabo" and "Buzzy" the Shriners Clowns. The clowns took requests from children and created everything from monkeys to swords and crazy hats from colorful balloons. Some children also had the opportunity to learn how to make their own balloon creations.

"You've made your first balloon, now you just need to put on some makeup and you could be a clown," Buzzy said to 5-year-old Chase Torkelson.

Nearby, something else was also attracting attention. At first glance, many people thought 3-month-old Daffodil was a dog, but a closer look revealed she was actually a white and brown goat.

The Miller family, who has a farm on 166th Street in Basehor, said they brought Daffodil as sort of a one animal petting zoo to advertise their Dairy Days booth. While mom Rhonda sold Jordan Essentials, natural bath and spa products, the booth also featured information on what the family's farm had to offer including fresh eggs, goats and chickens. Their three children, Rachel, 12, Rebekah, 9 and Benjamin, 6 are also in 4-H and raise bucket calves.

"Kevin grew up there," Rhonda Miller said about her husband. "But we've just been developing it the past two years. We're just trying to make a living on the farm. It's a new start."

"We're encouraging people to buy local, natural products," Kevin Miller said.

While this was the family's first year to set up a booth at Dairy Days, they said they hoped to expand next year.

"Next year we'd kind of like to see if they would let us do a petting zoo," Rhonda Miller said.

Rock Around the Clock

With feather boas, jump ropes, back flips and dazzling smiles, tumblers and dancers of Judy's Studio entertained festival revelers with a mix of routines.

Judy Whitcraft, owner of the studio, said she invited five of her classes to participate and whoever could make it came to Dairy Days. Performers ranged in age from about 4 to 13 years old.

"Our recital is a week from today, so you just gave us a rehearsal," Whitcraft said to the audience. "Thank you."

The ladies finished up their showcase with a tumbling run down the row of mats and their finale routine to "Rock Around the Clock," which is also the theme of their recital June 9, at the Lied Center in Lawrence.

"I was very pleased with the participation especially on a Saturday when there are things to do," Whitcraft said. "I have great parents period -- and great kids."


Four Fried Chickens and a Coke might be a meal for some, but it was the highly anticipated headline concert at Dairy Days.

"They're really well known in the area," said Jenne Laytham, assistant director of the Basehor Community Library and Dairy Days organizer. "They play all the time. We felt really lucky to get them."

And the 11-piece, rhythm and blues, funk, swing band didn't disappoint. The group donned colored wigs for part of their performance, which included selections from the jazzy Squirrel Nut Zippers to the soulful Otis Redding, as well as some of their own original songs.

Members of the light-hearted group, which was formed in 1997, claim they rarely practice and use the band as a fun extra activity in their lives as they all have regular day jobs.

"Most of us were leftovers from high school or college bands," said Sherry Oswald, saxophone player and lone woman in the band. "We dusted off our instruments and brought them out of our parents' basements."

A Success

Basehor Dairy Days organizers said the event was a complete success with an estimated 600 guests.

"There was a great turnout, great weather and great vendors," Melanie Morris, chair of the Dairy Days Planning Committee said. "We just really look forward to next year and it's just a great way to pull the community together and have a good time."

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