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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Guest column: My five cents on Buffalo Bill Days 2014

  • Planning for Buffalo Bill Days 2014 is off to a fantastic start.
    Last year, a group of local residents got together and decided to organize the festival. The decision was made after the local Main Street program voted not to organize a festival in 2013.
    What at first seemed like an enormous undertaking soon turned into a labor of love.
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  • Planning for Buffalo Bill Days 2014 is off to a fantastic start.
    Last year, a group of local residents got together and decided to organize the festival. The decision was made after the local Main Street program voted not to organize a festival in 2013.
    What at first seemed like an enormous undertaking soon turned into a labor of love.
    The Leavenworth Convention & Visitors Bureau provided the committee with several boxes containing information dating to the original festival in 1968. Included were newspaper articles, festival budgets, committee members and event schedules dating back to the original festival.
    The main part of the original event was always at Haymarket Square, so it was decided early to keep the event there.
    The original committee was called the Buffalo Bill State Park Committee. The committee name continued into the late 1980s.
    The committee always consisted of local volunteers who coordinated the event.
    Nonprofit groups used the event to raise money and businesses participated by having promotions during the event, hosting activities or pairing with nonprofit groups to ensure success of the activity.
    In a newspaper article from 1985, which lists the schedule of events, we see the Lions 5K/10K run was hosted by the Lions and First National Bank. Also in this same event schedule we see old-time storytelling hosted by the Leavenworth Library, Kiwanis Bar-B-Que, a horse shoe pitching contest and more.
    Deciding to stick with the original committee’s plan from 1968 was easy. It had worked for 26 years.
    The new committee’s attitude was, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
    Last year, the festival returned with a new purpose. What was the new purpose? Honor the original festival, follow the original festival’s plan and traditions, and allow nonprofits to retain 100 percent of the money they raise.
    This year, the festival is happy to announce the return of all successful events from last year, including the Outhouse Races.
    We are also excited to announce new additions to the festival this year.
    • The Third Kansas, Battery B, light artillery unit, a group of Civil War re-enactors, will be setting up a Civil War encampment on the south side of Haymarket Square.
    • First City’s P.A.S.T: P.A.S.T stands ready to provide audiences with entertaining historical performances.
    • A free children’s game area, hosted by Jojo Dee’s Pet, which will contain games from the festival time period such as marbles, hop and stick, and many more.
    • The Leavenworth Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 56 will host a pancake breakfast from 8-11 a.m. Aug. 15.
    • Our local chapter of Wreaths Across America will be utilizing the wonderful historic walking tour, developed by Debra Bates-Lamborn, owner of First City Photo, to raise money.
    Page 2 of 2 - There are many more new festival additions in the works. Our hope is that even more nonprofits and local businesses will join in this year’s festivities. Businesses and nonprofits interested in participating, or who would like us to add their event to the festival schedule, and local people and groups who would like to volunteer may contact us at lvfestivalcommittee@yahoo.com.
    During the next few months we will be giving you updates on festival events as well as more detailed information on the groups participating.
    Buffalo Bill Days 2014 is shaping up to be a wonderful event this year filled with history, music, children’s activities, great food and more.
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