For the second time, the Leavenworth Main Street Program is preparing to “ride into history” in honor of one of the city's most famous former residents.
For the second time, the Leavenworth Main Street Program is preparing to "ride into history" in honor of one of the city's most famous former residents.
Festivities at this year's Buffalo Bill Days Festival kick off at 3 p.m. Friday and will last until 11 p.m. The free community festival will open again at 7 a.m. Saturday and last through 11 p.m. that night.
Last year was the revival after a 20-year absence of Leavenworth's Buffalo Bill Days Festival, a community festival in tribute to "Wild West" showman William Frederick Cody, who grew up in the city. There rain was off and on, Main Street Executive Director Wendy Scheidt said she heard mostly good feedback on the revival of the long-dormant tradition.
"I think everybody loved it," she said.
Last year's festivities drew a crowd of about 4,000 visitors and combined some of the traditions drawn from the long-dormant festival — like the outhouse races — with a modern twist.
This year, Scheidt said the outhouse races will return and organizers are planning to bring back a number of the other events from the past.
The mustache and beard contest, in which participants are judged on length, styling and a category of who can best replicate the iconic look of Buffalo Bill himself. The "jail" will also return this year, she said.
But the 2012 edition of Buffalo Bill Days will also feature some new events, like the Leavenworth Hog Wild West Barbecue contest, which is not only an official Kansas City Barbecue Society event but a Kansas state championship barbecue contest, with a people's choice award and a special buffalo category.
This year organizers are also setting up a "General Store" featuring Buffalo Bill-related items and memorabilia, as well as a "kids' mercantile" with items for younger visitors.
Scheidt said the 400 through 700 blocks of Cherokee will be lined with games; artisan, craft and food vendors; and a "Show and Shine" antique car show from the Leavenworth Cruisers.
The festival is anchored at Haymarket Square, where 19 different acts on two stages will perform music, dance and historical narratives over the course of the two days. From 7 to 9 a.m. Saturday morning, the square at Seventh and Cherokee streets will host Bitler's Breakfast with biscuits and gravy, sausage and coffee or juice. Also at Haymarket will be the Star of the West Saloon, the festival's beverage tent.
Throughout the festival will be other activities — the "Gunsmoke and Petticoats" Wild West show will return and visitors can vote on the best piece of festival art in the "Outhouse and Such" art show. Radio shows "Junk Mafia" and "Better Horse Radio" will broadcast Saturday morning.
Looking back at last year, Scheidt said she was proud of the work that the volunteers had done to revive a piece of Leavenworth's history. This year, she said they strived to do even more.
"I think we've just overall put more quality into the festival," she said.
For a complete schedule of Buffalo Bill Days entertainment, visit www.buffalobilldaysfestival.com and click on "entertainment schedule" on the top of the page. A guide to the festival was also included Wednesday's edition of The Leavenworth Times and copies will be available at the information both at the festival, Sixth and Cherokee streets.