Whatever your taste, Miami County has a festival for you. Whether you like music, food, holidays or a good BBQ, our community welcomes you to explore the tastes, sights and sounds of our beautiful region.
Springtime Fun For Kids
Spring Hill celebrates children with Daffodil Days, one of the few area festivals dedicated exclusively to kids. Formerly called Family Fun Days, this family tradition draws nearly 2,000 people. This year’s free inflatables and rides will provide kid-friendly entertainment, while food and business booths cater to the youthful set. The “Touch a Truck” event and planned hands-on skateboarding and cycling demos will prove to be a big draw, as will the new 5K run/walk. The daffodil is the official flower of Spring Hill, a “young town” where 31 percent of residents are under 18. April 27, 2013.
A Feast of Food and Drink
If you enjoy good wine and art, then you’ll love the Art and Wine Stroll. Thirteen wineries from across Kansas join together in Paola’s historic town square to bring you the best wines our state has to offer. Enjoy tasting the wines as you browse the artwork of local artisans. One ticket is good for sampling 10+ different wines. July 13, 2013.
Also in Paola is the annual Harvest Festival, a classic fall festival that attracts 2,000 people each year to its chili cook-off, costume contest, and arts and crafts show, featuring 70 different artists and vendors. All activities take place in the eight streets of the town square. “It’s a fun way to get out and enjoy the fall weather, and it changes every year,” said Jason Camis, executive director of the Paola Chamber of Commerce. October 26, 2013.
Back to the Farm
Have you ever visited a real working farm? The Miami County Farm Tour gives you the opportunity to visit working farms up close and at your own pace. Kids touch and feel real animals, plant a garden and feed the alpacas. Stops include a winery, emu farm and Hereford cattle farm. You choose the stops. May 11-12, 2013.
Each August, about 10,000 people travel to Paola for the big-name musicians and world-class music of the Roots Festival. The two-day festival, now in its 24th year, showcases the best of rock, blues, jazz and big band. Past acts include: Los Lonely Boys, The Robert Cray Band and The Fabulous Thunderbirds. The music also coincides with the East Central Kansas State BBQ Cook-Off, where 70 teams compete to cook at the American Royal. Bring your blanket, chairs, coolers and drinks to enjoy top musicians in a laid-back, picnic atmosphere. Tickets available at www.rootsfestival.org. August 23-24, 2013.
The John Brown Jamboree and Music Festival is a four-day family music festival in Osawatomie that combines major national acts with a carnival, cookout and parade. Past acts include Travis Marvin and Emerson Drive. Fans enjoy the car and motorcycle show, helicopter rides, Cutest Baby Contest and Miss Osawatomie Pageant. There is also a kids’ fishing derby, golf tournament and 3-on-3 basketball tournament. “We provide something for everyone in the whole family. Both parents and kids can come out and enjoy a fun afternoon and evening,” said Grady Atwater, director of tourism for the City of Osawatomie. June 19-23, 2013.
Kansas History-Up Close and Personal
If you enjoy the thrill of seeing history come alive, the Freedom Festival welcomes 2,000 history fans to the hills of Osawatomie each year to watch a “live” reenactment of the Battle of Osawatomie, a key engagement between free state guerilla fighters and proslavery militia men during Bleeding Kansas. Participants use exact rifle replicas, and stay in soldier camps that are open to attendees. “It’s one thing to read about the Civil War in a history book, and it’s another to sit on an actual battlefield and watch a combatant fire his rifle in person,” said Atwater. Frontier craftsmen demonstrate lost skills; try your hand at archery or old-fashioned hatchet-throwing. Vintage baseball games are played by 1860s rules, and there is a display of modern military vehicles and weapons. September 21-22, 2013.
Founded in 2006, Railroad Day teaches people about the special relationship between railroads and eastern Kansas, honoring the contribution of railroad employees to the town of Osawatomie. Participants at the Railroad Museum are treated to model railroads, live music, and a modern arts and crafts fair, as well as an annual surprise. “We always have something really cool from Union Pacific, a new thing every year,” said Atwater. A 5K run and museum expo round out the day. April 20, 2013.
The Spring Hill Fall Festival celebrates its 59th year with a parade, crafters and a Friday night concert and “street dance” to a live band on Main Street. About 3,000 people partake in music, food and demos from cheerleaders to martial arts experts. A mechanical bull gives adults a chance to test their bullriding skills. There is a 5K run on Sunday, followed by a worship service and lunch. “People love the small-town feel of the festival, which, despite the high attendance, does not feel crowded,” said Kendra Hatcher, president of the Spring Hill Fall Festival Committee. “People come back year after year and bring their kids, because this is how they remember it as a kid.” September 20-22, 2013.
Once a year, the entire community of tiny Fontana (pop. 224) invites you to relive the festivals of yesteryear with its old-fashioned Fall Festival. Hog-calling contests, “best pie” contests, and craft fairs top off a big community picnic and games for the kids. Admission is free. “We invite folks to come back to Fontana and relive memories of a simpler time,” said Mayor Jon Beachy. September 21, 2013.
Do you enjoy a good run? Check out the 3rd annual Blazin’ the ’Burg 5K Run/Walk, winner of “The Best 5K Course in Kansas City” from the KC Sports Commission. This unique 6 p.m. run is cool and relaxed, bringing 400 runners each September to Louisburg from around the Kansas City area. A 1K kids’ fun run gives little ones a chance to try out their skills along with music, free activities,and plenty of food. Coincides with Ciderfest. September 28, 2013.
Safe and Spooky! Halloween
The Friday before Halloween, Louisburg welcomes 500 children for its popular Trick-or-Treat on Broadway. Businesses on the main strip dress up in costume, decorate windows and open their doors to kids for a trick-or-treat party, while hot dog vendors supply snacks for adults. October 25, 2013.
The 2nd annual Halloween Hayride and Trunk-or-Treat kicks off in Fontana at 6 p.m., followed by an old-fashioned hayride. Finish with homemade cookies and hot cocoa — the perfect way to enjoy the historic town square. Families from around Kansas City are welcome to participate in this safe and fun event. Hayride and activities are free. October 26, 2013.
Since 1951, the town of Osawatomie has hosted Santa’s visit from the North Pole as part of the Osawatomie Christmas Festival. In 2013, the 60-year-old tradition continues, now a full-day family Christmas Festival that includes live band music, Santa’s Workshop Arts and Crafts Fair, and free sleigh rides for kids on a real, horse-drawn sleigh. Take a picture with Santa and participate in the Mayor’s Chocolate Cake Contest. “It’s a great way to spend quality time with your family, without spending a lot of money,” says Shelagh Wright, executive director of the Osawatomie Chamber of Commerce. “People love to come and continue traditions they experienced as a child.” November 16, 2013.