We have a three-day weekend coming up, and there is definitely three times the events happening in northwest Kansas. I’ll break it down by day.
• Dorrance Tailgate: This is the ultimate small-town barbecue competition. And while the parents are tending the grills and smokers, the kids can enjoy turtle races, a bike and 4-wheeler parade and inflatables. A poker run and auction will precede the meats judging in the afternoon. A street dance featuring Ronnie and the Rockits will end the day. Check out last year’s photos and this year’s schedule on the Dorrance Tailgate Facebook page.
• Old Settlers Day, Smith Center: Last year was the big one — the big 1-0-0, so naturally the theme of this year’s Old Settlers Day is “Stepping Up to the Next 100 Years.” A parade, inflatables, “The Way They Were” demonstrations at the fairgrounds, kids’ games, a walking/driving tour of historic homes and a quilt display will be featured Saturday. It really is about celebrating history and the people who settled Smith Center.
• Luray Friendship Day: I think the name probably says it all in Luray. Labor Day weekend is a time for new and old friends to gather for a barbecue, parade, kids’ games, gospel music and a dance in the park. The 48th annual Friendship Day will also feature a barn quilt display by local artists in the Old Stone Church.
• Logan Labor Day Celebration: Other than it being incredibly hot last year, I thought this was one of the most interesting festivals I covered on my tour of northwest Kansas. A radio control fly-in at the top of the hill north of the golf course is ongoing throughout the day with many RC enthusiasts converging on Logan to show their collection and pilot their favorites. The sand volleyball tournament draws in dozens of teams, and there’s plenty for the kids to do between Mom and Dad’s volleyball games. The Prairie Dusters Drill Team will give horse rides and do a performance in the afternoon. Tethered hot air balloon rides are scheduled for the evening, as well as a Dueling Piano performance (one of my favorite things ever!) and Jimmy Dee and the Fabulous Destinations.
• Old Settlers Day, Russell Springs: Again, last year was the big one — the 125th anniversary of Russell Springs. But as usual, I’m a year behind. Nonetheless, I’ll be heading west for this on Sunday. The parade begins at 10 a.m., followed by the famous cow chip throwing contest north of the old school at 11 a.m. A hamburger feed follows, and there could be some talks on the history of the area. That’s all sponsored by the Butterfield Trail Association. Plus, there’s a barrel racing competition at the arena and Frisbee golf in the park in the afternoon.
• Natoma Labor Day Celebration: This is actually a three-day event celebrating the 125th anniversary of Natoma this year, but the brunt of the activities are Monday. A mud volleyball tournament and dance to Jimmy Dee and the Fabulous Destinations is Saturday, and a vintage baseball tournament and gospel music festival are Sunday. Monday’s activities include Natoma FFA’s greased pig contest, veterans display, student art show, exotic animals on display, a treasure hunt, parade, Abe and Mary Lincoln portrayal, other historical re-enactors and a grand opening at the local museum.