Happy birthday, Kansas!
Kansas is the 34th state in the Union and this Saturday, Jan. 29, will be our 150th birthday. It became a state in 1861.The state motto is “Ad astra per aspera,” which means “To the stars through difficulty.”
Kansas will host a large slate of events for its “sesquicentennial.” The U.S. Postal Service will issue commemoration stamps for us to watch for. The Kansas Department of Transportation will be posting signs at 20 entrances into Kansas to welcome travelers. People are painting sunflowers on barns all across the state. From Jan. 28 through Dec. 31, there will be an exhibit at the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka. On June 11 the Kansas City Symphony will play at the annual outdoor event staged in the prairie highlands of central Kansas. This year the performance will include stories about the Underground Railroad, Abraham Lincoln, and the history and legacy of Bleeding Kansas.
In Wichita the annual Mid America all-Indian Center Powwow will be July 9 and 10 in a joint celebration with the Old Cow Town Museum. On Sept. 23 and 24, Medicine Lodge has an Indian Peace Treaty Pageant. This is a big event that re-enacts the 1867 Peace Council, as well as the settlement of Kansas. Native American dancers in the Kansas Championship Ranch Rodeo will round out the pageant. The Kansas Sampler Festival will be May 7 and 8, again in Leavenworth at Ray Miller Park. This is just a small part of celebrations in our state, so there are many opportunities to make some nice weekend trips to parts of our state we have never visited.
Right here in Lansing, our museum has big plans to celebrate. It is playing host to its second Kansas Day Cake Decorating Contest this Saturday, Jan. 29. Prizes will be awarded. The museum will also offer children’s activities from 1 to 2 p.m., then at 2:30 p.m., University of St. Mary professor Ken Mulliken will present “Ad Astra Per Aspera: a Personal Reflection on 150 years of Kansas History.” Admission is free and refreshments will be served.
Our Lansing Community Library has a monthlong celebration and asks all patrons to stop by and tell us in one word why you love your state. All expressions will be posted on our virtual patron wall through Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011.
Kansas was only 68 years old when I was born.