KANSAS! Magazine | 2019 Spring

Page 1



VOL 75





tuned to nature,

with songs for life The work of Robin Macy

insurance and you could save.

geico.com | 1-800-947-AUTO | Local Office

Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states, in all GEICO companies, or in all situations. Boat and PWC coverages are underwritten by GEICO Marine Insurance Company. Homeowners, renters and condo coverages are written through non-affiliated insurance companies and are secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc. Motorcycle and ATV coverages are underwritten by GEICO Indemnity Company. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, DC 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. Š 2018 GEICO



PHOTOGRAPH BriJoRae Pusch-Zuniga



Sounds Like Winfield

The Walnut Valley Festival approaches 50 years with new faces and timeless tunes


Letting the Strings Sing

A Merriam violin maker creates instruments for professional and beginner musicians

02 SPRING 2019



Come for this

Cirque du Soleil - Corteo @ Kansas Expo April 18 - 21

Stay for that

The Diary of Anne Frank @ TCT April 19 - May 4 Topeka365.com



2800 acres of native prairie located in the Smoky Hills. Guided tram tours for viewing wildlife available by reservations. Call 620-628-4455 or visit our website for more information.



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inside departments

07 08 10

PHOTOGRAPHS (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT) Kevin Anderson, Aaron Patton, Tom Arnhold, courtesy of The Escape Game Leavenworth

Kansas Details | Cuisine Fine Food and Good Eats | Heartland People and Places that Define Us | Culture Arts, Performances and Delights | Kansas Air The Freshness of Outdoor Life | How To Wise Tips from Friendly Kansans | Lens A conversation with KANSAS! photographers 24 | Reasons We Love Kansas Celebrating Unique Attractions 26 | Must See Upcoming Events to Enjoy



From the Editor

12 14 17 18 21 22



In this Issue



Wide Open Spaces


28 | Taste of Kansas: National Festival of Breads Kansas-based competition features some of America’s best amateur bakers 34 | Bluegrass and Botany In Belle Plaine, Robin Macy preserves old-time music and a treasure of trees





KANSAS! Gallery: Spring



ON THE COVER Robin Macy plays guitar at her home in Belle Plaine. Photograph by Aaron Patton.

05 SPRING 2019

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism

Andrea Etzel EDITOR

Laura Kelly GOVERNOR

Brad Loveless




Bill Uhler

Bob Cucciniello

Kelly Gibson

Nathan Pettengill

Shelly Bryant

Leslie Andres







Joanne Morgan

MARKETING, (785) 832-7264

WE LIKE IKE ... AND MAMIE TOO! Visit the all-new exhibits unveiling in 2019 at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. Commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day while learning Ike and Mamie’s story in their own words.

Stay a few days and celebrate Abilene’s 150th anniversary! Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad Old Abilene Town Great Plains Theatre Dickinson County Heritage Center Greyhound Hall of Fame Seelye Mansion Unique specialty shops & restaurants

Smithsonian Magazine’s Best Small Town to Visit AbileneKansas.org



Cindy Freeman


Bill Pennington


KANSAS! (ISSN 0022-8435) is published quarterly by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism 1020 S. Kansas Ave., Suite 200, Topeka, KS 66612; (785) 296-3479; TTY Hearing Impaired: (785) 296-3487. Periodical postage paid at Topeka, KS, and at additional mailing offices. Newsstand price $5 per issue; subscription price $18 per year; international subscription price $22 per year. All prices include all applicable sales tax. Please address subscription inquiries to: Toll-free: (800) 678-6424 KANSAS!, P.O. Box 146, Topeka, KS 66601-0146 E-mail: ksmagazine@sunflowerpub.com | Website: www.KansasMag.com POSTMASTER: Send address change to: KANSAS!, P.O. Box 146, Topeka, KS 66601-0146. Please mail all editorial inquiries to: KANSAS!, 1020 S. Kansas Ave., Suite 200, Topeka, KS 66612 email: ksmagazine@sunflowerpub.com The articles and photographs that appear in KANSAS! magazine may not be broadcast, published or otherwise reproduced without the express written consent of Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism or the appropriate copyright owner. Unauthorized use is prohibited. Additional restrictions may apply.


in this

issue how to

By Katherine Dinsdale

How to ... Outdoors

Jonathan Groene is a leading advocate for self-propelled, selfsupported outdoor experiences. He has eaten the dust of the Dirty Kanza 200 Gravel Grinder four times; he has completed 1,700 miles of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route; and for fun, he takes backyard excursions such as a recent 38-mile on-foot circumnavigation of Douglas County’s Clinton Lake—all in one day. The man likes a challenge, it’s safe to say, but his delight in his outings goes deeper than that. “If I’m going to feel wonderment, it’s going to happen outside,” Groene says. “The things I’m most interested in are outdoors. I like to notice the date when I see the last of a certain migratory bird. I like to notice the passage of time and the slant of the sun in winter.” A construction manager for the Lawrence Habitat for Humanity, Groene is proof that the outdoors can be enjoyed in your free time. In 2018, he began talking with his son, Aaron Groene, about how he could share and celebrate his enthusiasm for the outdoors. “What if we invited people to tell stories about time outdoors in Kansas?” they wondered. Aaron recruited siblings Clara, Emma and Tobias, along with friends, who formed 38N Adventure Fest—a not-for-profit dedicated to encouraging outdoor adventures in the state. They held their first festival in September 2018 and plan on repeating the event in 2019. Information will be available at


If I’m going to feel wonderment, it’s going to happen outside.”


1. Forget specialized gear. If you dream of moisture-wicking, sunprotecting, breathable, wrinkle- and stain-resisting duds—then go get 'em. For the record, Groene says he can’t live without slip-on sun-sleeves to protect his skin on long bike rides when his sun block has sweated off and to help moderate his body temperature. But the key is determining what will motivate you to get and stay outside. Tennis shoes and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty can be good enough. 2. Know that you don’t have to win. Competition can be a great motivator. It can also be simply intimidating. Even when you compete at events like the Dirty Kanza, take time to enjoy the experience such as the warm hometown welcome that Emporia extends, the beauty of the course through the Flint Hills and the camaraderie of fellow racers. 3. Follow your heart. Build outside experiences around what interests you. Simply walking and observing flowering trees is a great spring outdoor activity. Hunt mushrooms, explore a park with a metal detector and a grandchild. Find a dark spot and watch the full moon change from amber to silver. “Lying under a bare tree and watching the moonlight through the branches is a memory worth carrying a lifetime,” says Groene.

4. Find a sidekick (when you want). Time alone is good. Other times you might want a buddy—and there’s something to be said for making a pact for regular outdoor dates with a friend. Groene suggests finding a pal to join you on excursions to a dog park. “You know the dogs will behave, but the wonderful thing about dog parks is that the people behave as well,” he says. 5. Forget about “someday” and “somewhere.” Vague, ambitious plans are never as good as specific, realistic goals such as a three-mile walk around a county lake. Groene also suggests simply exploring your neighborhood on foot or going online to ksoutdoors.com or kansascyclists.com for a list of nearby trails to walk or bike.

Where in Kansas?


Garden City



–Jonathan Groene


PHOTOGRAPHS (FROM LEFT) Kevin Anderson, BriJoRae Pusch-Zuniga








Musical Winfield

Changes in KANSAS!

The newly expanded workshop of Anton Krutz allows the master luthier and his team to show off the range of their creations, including violins, violas, cellos and more. One of the more uncommon instruments is the line of fivestring violins—a variation that adds one string and a range of lower-tones to the instrument. The top-level instruments in this series are slightly larger than the regular violin and crafted entirely by hand by the shop’s senior luthiers.

Our cover story on the Walnut Valley Festival celebrates a great Kansas musical tradition. In preparing the story, we were reminded of just how national this annual gathering has become. Many of the musicians, such as New York-based singer Emily Johnson-Erday (above), as well as festival-goers arrive from out of state. If you’re a Kansan, be sure to take advantage of the easy access to this tradition (or of any of the other state’s music festivals listed in the story).

“...where Kansans share stories and advice about an aspect of the state they love.” KANSAS! MAGAZINE

around the

state These are just some of the locations represented in this issue of KANSAS! Magazine.

In this issue of KANSAS! magazine, you might notice several stylistic changes throughout. Head Editor Andrea Etzel collaborated with Art Director Shelly Bryant to freshen some of the fonts and layout of the magazine and provide a crisper, cleaner reading experience. We’ve also switched the lineup on some of the recurring sections, introducing new themes such as the “How to …” page where Kansans share stories and advice about an aspect of the state they love. Enjoy!


Smith Center






Great Bend



07 SPRING 2019


from the


As I sit down to write my letter, the temperature outside is a brisk 24 degrees, and there is a crusty mixture of a snow and ice on the ground. All this wintery goodness has been enough for me—I’m ready for spring. Bring on longer days, warmer temps, and tulips. I always feel spring has officially sprung when those vibrant botanical gems come into bloom. A favorite location to see their full beauty is Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine. In this issue, we sat down with arboretum steward Robin Macy, founding member of the Dixie Chicks, to talk about bluegrass and botany. You’ll find as you read along, music strums its way through the magazine, from the Walnut Valley Music Festival, affectionally known as Winfield, to a Merriam violin-maker who has honed his craft creating lyrical string instruments. As proven on page 46, Kansans and travelers to our great state have no shortage in music festivals to attend this year. I hope 2019 has been a joyful year for you so far. There are exciting things ahead—the opening of Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park and the newly renovated Eisenhower Museum that opens for the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Here at KANSAS! we are putting the final touches on a special military issue to be released this summer.

facebook.com/KansasMagazine @KANSASMag



KansasMagazine (get spotted; use #kansasmag to tag us)

08 SPRING 2019



FORKING GOOD With some of the top-rated eateries in the state, the restaurants in Emporia will satisfy any craving.

Proud Past – Brilliant Future

visitemporia.com | 800-279-3730

Smoke in the Spring State BBQ Championship Friday April 12, 2019 785-528-3714 (Osage City Hall) www.OsageCity.com



National Festival of Breads Kansas-based competition features some of America’s best amateur bakers

PHOTOGRAPHS (CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT) courtesy National Festival of Breads, Kevin Anderson, courtesy Buffalo Dunes Golf Course, Aaron Patton







Welcome to KANSAS! magazine’s “Kansas Details.” Here we explore what’s new and buzzing throughout the state—from restaurants and shopping to cultural happenings and attractions.

12 Cuisine 14 Heartland 17 Culture 18 Kansas Air 21 How To 22 Lens 24 Reasons We Love Kansas 26 Must See Events WIDE OPEN SPACES 28 Taste of Kansas: National Festival of Breads 34 Bluegrass and Botany





Fresh-offthe-Farm Shrimp

Despite living in landlocked Kansas, Bob and Deb Daniels raise salt-water shrimp as their main crop instead of the livestock and grains found on neighboring farms near Oxford. Each of the nine tanks at their Sunflower Shrimp facility holds 3,000 gallons of water and 3,500 shrimp that grow for six months until ready for harvest, according to Bob Daniels. A recirculating aquaculture system creates an antibiotic- and hormone-free growing environment for the shrimp while generating little waste. Groups are invited to tour the building to learn details about growing shrimp indoors, and customers get a glimpse of the process as their shrimp is harvested from the tank with a net right before their eyes to ensure freshness. With heads attached, Sunflower’s shrimp keeps for 48 hours in the refrigerator. Daniels suggests leaving the heads on during the cooking process because “that’s where so much of the flavor is in shrimp.” However, he warns the heads should be removed if freezing the shrimp prior to cooking. “It’s an entirely different flavor than you might get with ocean shrimp that has been de-headed and frozen,” he says of the fresh, clean taste of Sunflower Shrimp. “The flavor is going to be very sweet.” To prepare, rinse the shrimp and then grill or sauté for one to two minutes per side, or drop into boiling water and remove when one or two shrimp float to the top in about two minutes to prevent overcooking, Daniels advises. Heads and shells then can be removed easily if desired. sunflowershrimp.com | (316) 293-6961

Local celebrities and elected officials flip pancakes at this event that includes a museum tour with time on a flight simulator, musical entertainment, and all-you-can-eat pancakes with a serving of sausage and a drink. The museum fundraiser is from 7 a.m. to noon in a hangar at Topeka Regional Airport’s Forbes Field. combatair museum.org (785) 862-3303

By Cecilia Harris


Featuring a broad selection of wine, craft beers and spirits from Kansas and around the world, hors d’oeuvres, live entertainment, and both live and silent auctions, this event at 7 p.m. at the Great Bend Event Center supports numerous community services provided by Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas. catholiccharities swks.org (620) 792-1393

It’s an entirely different flavor than you might get with ocean shrimp.” –Bob Daniels

12 SPRING 2019

Great Bend

Topeka Oxford

Where in Kansas?



Plan your trip at VisitHays.com!

Take in an indie flick. ART CENTER CINEMA

Light up Buy the kids. a little bauble. GIANT LIGHT BRIGHT THE CURIOSITY SHOP


Download the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce App!


heartland By Amber Fraley

Still Showing Towns Treasure Historic Theaters as Cultural Centers


Built in 1935, the Augusta Theatre is an eye-popping example of Art Deco architecture and design, with ornate plasterwork and colorful murals inside, and electric neon inside and out. “I was stunned when I first walked in there. It’s really impressive, everywhere you look,” says theater manager Michael Carmody, describing the building as “the centerpiece” of its block in downtown Augusta. Built by ranchers Dave and Aline Bisagno, the building survived a fire in 1949 and has remained essentially the same since it was built. The Bisagno family operated the theater until 1985; the building sat empty for four years until it was purchased by the Augusta Arts Council. The Council fundraised and applied for grants throughout the 1990s for restoration and the purchase of a digital projector. The group is currently fundraising to repair the theater’s original neon marquee that was damaged in a storm some years ago. The working theater shows movies through a combination of projectors. “We’re one of the few places left that still has the old Simplex 35mm projectors,” says Carmody. In the coming year, Carmody hopes to launch a monthly revival featuring anniversaryyear films. “We’re going to be bringing back movies that are having their 25th, or 50th or 80th anniversaries and make an event out of it,” he says. The rest of the time, the theater will continue to show first-run movies.

Since reopening in 1983, Center Theatre in Smith Center has been an integral part of the community’s cultural life. “We run seven days a week, one show every night,” says manager Norbert Benoit. Believed to have been built in the 1940s, the theater building continues as a nonprofit whose upgrades and renovations are funded through grants and ticket sales for regular moving showings. “We went digital eight or nine years ago,” Benoit says, and the theater upgraded to an even newer digital projector in 2017. A couple of years ago, the digital surround-sound system was also upgraded, and a new digital LED marquee was added out front. The Smith Center community, says Benoit, donates lots of free labor to keep the theater going.

Opened 1935 Number of seats 633 Projector 35 MM and digital 3-D movie compatible Yes On Historic Register Yes

Opened 1940s Number of seats 168 Projector Digital 3-D movie compatible Yes On Historic Register No

14 SPRING 2019


The Plaza Cinema in Ottawa recently made an amazing discovery: It’s the oldest continually run movie theater in the world. When Franklin County Historical Society received a donation of photos of the theater dating back to 1905, Deborah Barker, director of the Historical Society, suspected the theater might be worthy of the title. After much research, this claim was confirmed by the Guinness Book of World Records. “The reason we’re one of the oldest left is because we didn’t burn down,” explains owner Scott Zaremba, adding that historic theaters were vulnerable to fires because their projectors worked through a mechanism that created an open arc of electricity. Originally a one-screen theater, the Plaza became a two-screen movie house when it was remodeled in the 1970s. Zaremba hopes the title of “world’s oldest” will help the theater, and a small museum housed inside it, thrive. “I call it the Mona Lisa because there’s only one.”

Opened 1905 Number of seats 210 Projector Digital 3-D movie compatible Yes On Historic Register Yes KANSAS! MAGAZINE



c November 1 through January 1 150 victorian, antique Christmas trees and ornaments 10-5pm Wed-Sat | 1-5pm Sun (785) 887-6148 | www.lecomptonkansas.com





culture By Cecilia Harris

Despite a law prohibiting alcohol in 1920, booze is flowing freely at the 21 Club in Leavenworth when the Federal Bureau of Investigation busts through the door. You’re locked inside the speakeasy. Can you escape the illicit night club within the hour? Escape rooms, also called break-out games, provide a mentally-stimulating, adrenaline-rushing adventure as players work together to find hidden clues, unlock codes and solve puzzles to escape a room within a set time limit, typically 60 minutes. There are more than two dozen escape establishments across Kansas, with room themes ranging from murder mysteries to military missions to even Saving Christmas. The Speakeasy Escape is one of three rooms at The Escape Game Leavenworth, located in a historic building in which a speakeasy once existed below street level, accessible by an underground tunnel system connecting commercial businesses. Players receive a brief history lesson about the original speakeasy and tour the underground tunnel before entering the game room. “With all of our escapes, we try to tie in some sort of either Leavenworth history or Kansas history to keep it unique and different from the other escape rooms across the country,” says owner Greg Forshey. Across the state, Garden City’s Escape the Clock uses advanced technology to create the magical fantasy world from which lost players must flee before the rabbit hole closes in the Alice in Wonderland: The Final Chapter room. While many games are designed to include children, some businesses require those under certain ages be accompanied by an adult.

March 21–23 | Dodge City Billed as “A North American Agri-Business Tradition,” the 65th annual 3i Show once again will salute industry, implements and irrigation March 21–23 at the Western State Bank Expo Center in Dodge City. In addition to numerous activities, exhibitors from companies throughout the world will showcase the latest equipment, technology and services in the agriculture industry. 3ishow.com | (620) 227-8082


April 14 | Junction City Timeless classics like “In the Mood,” “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” and other swing dance favorites return when the Glenn Miller Orchestra performs at 2 p.m. on April 14 at the C.L. Hoover Opera House in Junction City. Miller’s music dominated the airwaves from 1938– 1942 when swing music performed by big bands was most popular. jcoperahouse.org (785) 238-3906 Where in Kansas?

theescapegameleavenworth.com | (913) 742-9503 escapetheclockgc.com | (620) 805-5064



–Greg Forshey

Junction City

We try to tie in some sort of either Leavenworth history or Kansas history...”

Dodge City Garden City

PHOTOGRAPH courtesy of The Escape Game Leavenworth

Breaking Out


17 SPRING 2019

kansas air By Michael Pearce


Wild Best Bets to Witness Prairie Chicken Mating Dances

Birders and tourists from around the world come to Kansas each spring to view the spectacular spring breeding ground dances of the state’s prairie chickens. It’s worth the early rise and short trek to spend a few hours after sunrise on pristine prairie, yards away from greater or lesser prairie chickens doing a dance older than the ages. The mating dance—with an intricate series of flutters and booming vocalizations—can be viewed on any of the prairie chickens’ spring breeding grounds, known as “leks,” and recently private and public groups have begun organizing tours of known leks, combining the opportunity to see this rare, natural event with respect for and noninterference in the birds’ natural environment.

The mating dance—with an intricate series of flutters and booming vocalizations— can be viewed on any of the prairie chickens’ spring breeding grounds. 18 SPRING 2019

Scott City Great Bend

Manhattan Emporia

Cottonwood Falls

Where in Kansas?

Registration begins January 14 for the center’s “Greater Prairie Chicken Booming Tours.” The tour is held on Wednesdays and Saturdays from March 16–April 13, and spots for the viewing blinds near Manhattan fill quickly. The cost is $45 for Discovery Center members and $50 for nonmembers. Call (785) 587-2726, or go to flinthillsdiscovery.org for reservations.

Prairie Rose Adventures Lyon County

Father/daughter conservation team Roger Wells and Angela Anderson have one of the best blinds for greater prairie chickens in the state. Located in Lyon County outside of Emporia, the tours host visitors for $75 per person, though significant discounts are usually given to youth and conservation groups. Reservations begin in early January for spots between mid-March to mid-April. Call (620) 340-5808.

Great Bend

The center near the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area takes six guests at a time to a greater prairie chicken lek, primarily in April. The cost is $35 per person. Reservations begin in January; call (620) 566-1456, or go to wetlandscenter.fhsu.edu.

Lark Inn Prairie Chicken Viewing Adventure Cottonwood Falls

These greater prairie chicken viewing trips are based out of Lark Inn vacation rentals in iconic Cottonwood Falls and are recommended from mid-April to early May. The cost is $25, with a minimum of three reservations per party. Call (620) 273-1135, or go to thelarkinn.com.

Ranch Hosts

Scott and Logan Counties The 2018 opening of two large ranches to lesser prairie chicken viewing has made the prairies between Scott City and Oakley a world-class birding destination. Collectively, the ranches have hundreds of the birds, a number that is nearly impossible to find elsewhere. Tour rates are $70 per person and organized through Jim Millensifer at jhmillensifer@gmail.com. KANSAS! MAGAZINE

PHOTOGRAPHS (FROM LEFT) Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), Casey Wilson

Flint Hills Discovery Center

Kansas Wetlands Education Center

Prairie chickens perform their mating dance in Lyon County. Photograph by Casey Wilson.



Restore...Revive...Relax...Repeat! In the Flint Hills of Chase County

www.chasecountychamber.org Acorns Resort is the only Full-Service Lakeside Resort in Kansas. Located near I-70 on U.S Hwy 77. Cove Bar & Grill

Spectacular view, food and drinks! Access by boat, car or foot.

www.acornsresortkansas.com 785-463-4000


COME EXPERIENCE Zoo Museums Rodeos Festivals Milford Lake Water parks Hunting Shopping

claycokansas.com | claycenterchamber@gmail.com | 785.632.5674

how to

By Katherine Dinsdale

PHOTOGRAPH Brian Goodman

How to ... Outdoors

Jonathan Groene is a leading advocate for self-propelled, selfsupported outdoor experiences. He has eaten the dust of the Dirty Kanza 200 Gravel Grinder four times; he has completed 1,700 miles of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route; and for fun, he takes backyard excursions such as a recent 38-mile on-foot circumnavigation of Douglas County’s Clinton Lake—all in one day. The man likes a challenge, it’s safe to say, but his delight in his outings goes deeper than that. “If I’m going to feel wonderment, it’s going to happen outside,” Groene says. “The things I’m most interested in are outdoors. I like to notice the date when I see the last of a certain migratory bird. I like to notice the passage of time and the slant of the sun in winter.” A construction manager for the Lawrence Habitat for Humanity, Groene is proof that the outdoors can be enjoyed in your free time. In 2018, he began talking with his son, Aaron Groene, about how he could share and celebrate his enthusiasm for the outdoors. “What if we invited people to tell stories about time outdoors in Kansas?” they wondered. Aaron recruited siblings Clara, Emma and Tobias, along with friends, who formed 38N Adventure Fest—a not-for-profit dedicated to encouraging outdoor adventures in the state. They held their first festival in September 2018 and plan on repeating the event in 2019. Information will be available at


If I’m going to feel wonderment, it’s going to happen outside.” –Jonathan Groene


1. Forget specialized gear. If you dream of moisturewicking, sun-protecting, breathable, wrinkle- and stainresisting duds—then go get ’em. For the record, Groene says he can’t live without slip-on sun-sleeves to protect his skin on long bike rides when his sun block has sweated off and to help moderate his body temperature. But the key is determining what will motivate you to get and stay outside. Tennis shoes and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty can be good enough. 2. Know that you don’t have to win. Competition can be a great motivator. It can also be simply intimidating. Even when you compete at events like the Dirty Kanza, take time to enjoy the experience such as the warm hometown welcome that Emporia extends, the beauty of the course through the Flint Hills and the camaraderie of fellow racers. 3. Follow your heart. Build outside experiences around what interests you. Simply walking and observing flowering trees is a great spring outdoor activity. Hunt mushrooms, explore a park with a metal detector and a grandchild. Find a dark spot and watch the full moon change from amber to silver. “Lying under a bare tree and watching the moonlight through the branches is a memory worth carrying a lifetime,” says Groene.

4. Find a sidekick (when you want). Time alone is good. Other times you might want a buddy—and there’s something to be said for making a pact for regular outdoor dates with a friend. Groene suggests finding a pal to join you on excursions to a dog park. “You know the dogs will behave, but the wonderful thing about dog parks is that the people behave as well,” he says. 5. Forget about “someday” and “somewhere.” Vague, ambitious plans are never as good as specific, realistic goals such as a three-mile walk around a county lake. Groene also suggests simply exploring your neighborhood on foot or going online to ksoutdoors. com or kansascyclists.com for a list of nearby trails to walk or bike.

21 SPRING 2019

Kevin Anderson


A conversation with KANSAS! photographers about their work and the iconic images of our home state Kevin Anderson has been a Kansas resident for 35 years and a professional photographer for nearly all his adult life. He worked as a newspaper photographer in Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas (including Kansas City and Lawrence). He currently shoots images from his home in Shawnee, where he enjoys good food and wine with his wife, Sharon.

What was the moment you wanted to become a photographer? It was when I was a teenager. I loved to work the darkroom, watching the image come up in the print developer. I was lucky to have a darkroom in my parents’ basement. Lots of trial and error.


What was your first camera? What did you like about it? I had an Instamatic camera my parents gave me for Christmas when I was about 12. My first serious camera was a 35mm Sears Ricoh I bought in high school from my friend Peter Buffett. He introduced me to photography. A good photographer knows when to … shoot and when not to interfere with the moment. What are three things you will never tire of photographing? The sky at sunset, the sky at sunrise and my grandchildren.

Tell us about the one that got away. Supermodel Cindy Crawford refused to sit in front of my camera when she realized that her handlers failed to tell her that the interview she agreed to do was being held in the newspaper’s photo studio. I got a great Polaroid of an empty chair. What are some of your favorite places to shoot in Kansas? Many outdoor locations near my Shawnee home, especially Shawnee Mission Park and Wyandotte County Lake. I also love the Flint Hills and the wideopen plains in the western part of the state.

People often think photography is about nothing, but it is about remembering.” –Kevin Anderson

If you had to describe your photography in terms of a color wheel, where would you fall on it? It would be 18% gray, Zone V in the Zone System.



reasons By Cecilia Harris

IN THIS ISSUE Challenging Golf Courses

Where in Kansas?

Manhattan Every golf club in the bag might be needed at this 18-hole course that spreads across 315 acres in the Flint Hills and features two ponds, numerous creeks and native prairie tallgrass outside the fairways. To honor nearby Kansas State University, five of the 92 bunkers are purple sand, including one in the shape of a wildcat’s paw. Five teeing areas at each hole allow golfers to determine the length of the hole. Golf.com and GolfLink.com have ranked Colbert as the top course in Kansas. colberthills.com | (877) 916-4653



Manhattan Milford Winfield

Garden City Ranked the top municipally owned golf course in Kansas by Golf Digest, Buffalo Dunes also earned accolades from Golf, Golfweek and Travel & Leisure magazines for “places to play” and “best bang for the buck.” Nestled among rolling sand hills, the 18-hole, par-72 course features bluegrass fairways, bent grass greens and native grasses. The course plays at differing lengths based upon skill level, with yardages from 5,452 to the championship tees of 6,806 yards. buffalodunes.org | (620) 276-1210




Garden City



Newton Named for the Sand Creek that borders several holes and Newton’s history as a train stop, the course hosted the 2014 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship. The course’s 10th hole, aptly named “The Beast,” is a par-5 stretch of 648 yards, hailed as the longest in the state. The 16th hole replicates the famous “Road Hole” at St. Andrews, Scotland. sandcreekgolfclub.com (316) 284-6161

24 SPRING 2019


my reasons

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY (FROM LEFT) Buffalo Dunes Golf Course, Colbert Hills Golf Course, Sand Creek Station, Rolling Meadows Golf Course, Firekeeper Golf Course, Quail Ridge Golf Course, Chris Tuohey

To this day, I believe moving to Kansas was a blessing—for my kids, for my career, and for meeting my wife.” –Chris Tuohey Chris Tuohey, general manager of Sand Creek Station Golf Course in Newton, resided in Little Rock, Miami, and New Orleans before moving to Andover after Hurricane Katrina destroyed his home and the four golf courses he managed.

Here are his top-five reasons for loving his new home state.


Cost of living


The people—a handshake is important in Kansas


The recent reseeding of the tee boxes and fairways to Zoysia grass provides a quality playing surface on this 160-acre course with views of the Flint Hills. Trees, 29 sand bunkers, and six ponds challenge golfers of all levels; a player must hit the ball over a pond to reach the green on the second hole, a par 3, and around a big oak tree on the left center of the fairway approaching the 17th hole, a long par 4. jcrollingmeadows.com (785) 238-4303

3 4 5

Less traffic

Fewer potholes!

Incredible schools


Mayetta Named one of the top-100 golf courses in the nation by Golfweek magazine, this Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation course was intentionally designed to retain all of the land’s natural elements with minimal disruption. The par-72 course, with natural bent grass greens and fairways with fescue rough, features seven holes in the prairie and 11 holes of natural creeks, rolling hills and trees. The 18th hole offers a double fairway and a shortcut for the gambler. firekeepergolf.com | (785) 966-2100


Winfield Named one of the best public golf bargains in the country by Golf Digest, this course’s walking green fee is just $20 for 18 holes for an adult playing on nonholiday weekdays. Located in the Flint Hills, the course features rolling terrain and Zoysia grass fairways. Golfers find the third hole a challenge with rough, sand, trees and native grass on the right and a creek running along the left and through the fairway. Plus, the landing area for this par-4 hole is only 25 yards wide. golfquailridgeonline.com (800) 676-3880




must see PARADE OF QUILTS March 1–31



Downtown Yoder, a community rich in Mennonite heritage, hosts its 19th-annual display of original, handmade quilts throughout area businesses and public venues. yoderkansas.com.

The Hutchinson Symphony closes out its 2018–2019 season with works by Prokofiev and Ravel. hutchsymphony.org

Downs hosts annual statewide competition and gathering of storytellers, with performance events open to the public. kansasstorytelling.com.

INTERNATIONAL PANCAKE DAY March 5 The town of Liberal celebrates its 70thannual citywide Pancake Day on Shrove Tuesday with performances, feasts and a competitive skillet race against the good citizens of Olney, England. pancakeday.net | (620) 624-6423 REZA: EDGE OF ILLUSION March 29 Cutting-edge illusionist performs at the Junction City’s C.L. Hoover Opera House. jcoperahouse.org | (785) 238-3906 GEORGIA O’KEEFFE: ART, IMAGE, STYLE March 30–June 23 Wichita Art Museum explores the connection of personal style and creative artwork in the life and works of iconic American artist Georgia O’Keeffe. wichitaartmuseum.org (316) 268-4921 DIANA KRALL April 2 Jazz legend performs at Manhattan’s McCain Auditorium. k-state.edu/mccain | (785) 532-6428

26 SPRING 2019

BELLE PLAINE DOWNTOWN TULIP FESTIVAL April 12–14 Tulips plus music, vintage car show, parade, sand volleyball tournament, quilt show and more. belleplainechamber.com/tulipfestival

FORT LEAVENWORTH HOMES TOUR April 28 Walking tour of historic homes located on the grounds of the U.S. Army base of Fort Leavenworth. Attendees must have required identification documents to access the base. ffam.us | (913) 684-3193. ANTIQUE AND BARBED WIRE FESTIVAL May 2–5 La Crosse hosts its 52nd-annual celebration of the fence material that came to define boundaries in the American West. rushcounty.org | (785) 222-9900 RUNNING WITH THE COWS HALFMARATHON AND 5K May 11 Bucyrus hosts a race through the countryside as a benefit for Queen of the Holy Rosary Catholic School. cow.run MIAMI COUNTY FARM TOUR May 11–13 Dozens of farms and ranches in this eastcentral Kansas county open their gates to visitors and families. miamicountyks.org ABBYVILLE FRONTIER DAYS RODEO AND BBQ May 17–18 A barrel race, parade, community barbecue and two days of rodeo greet visitors at this Reno County tradition. abbyvillerodeo.com


PHOTOGRAPH Georgia O’Keeffe, Black Pansy & Forget Me Nots (Pansy), 1926 Oil on Canvas; Photograph by Christine Gant, Brooklyn Museum; Copyright Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS)

Spring 2019


H t i l n ls Life i l F e h T

Shopping, Dining, Lodging, Recreation & More in Historic Council Grove!

VISIT c OUNCIL g rove . com Council Grove/Morris County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism 620-767-5413

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Taste of Kansas

National Festival of Breads Kansas-based competition features some of America’s best amateur bakers

By Meta West | Photography by Meg Shearer and courtesy National Festival of Breads

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f a baking event is begun by a group with the name “The Kansas Wheathearts,” then it has to be good. In 1990, this women’s wheatgrowers auxiliary group proposed holding a statewide baking contest and quickly turned it into a reality by working with the Kansas Wheat Commission and Kansas Department of Agriculture. Then in 2009, the farmer-members of the Kansas Wheat Commission decided to raise the stakes and make the contest into a national competition, eventually bringing in national sponsors such as King Arthur Flour and Red Star Yeast. Now, the National Festival of Breads has grown into one of the nation’s top amateur bread-baking competitions. Held every other year, the 2019 competition brings food bloggers and top chefs to Manhattan on June 8. At the center of the event is the bread-baking competition. Entries for this round of competition closed on January 1, 2019, the date by which hundreds of original yeast bread recipes, representing almost every state in the U.S., arrived online at the Kansas Wheat Commission and were assigned a number. Between the submission cut-off and the competition, a panel of judges reviews each recipe and selects semi-finalists. From mid-January through March, two or three recipes are test-baked each day, and a panel of judges evaluates the breads to determine the eight finalists. Judging is based on clearly defined criteria including

The biggest selling point about this contest is that it is a good, oldfashioned cook-off.” –Kristina Vänni

recipe creativity and originality, ease of preparation and detailed instructions, nutritional value, eating quality, flavor and aroma of each baked product. On the day of competition, the finalists will proceed in a grand march through the venue’s ballroom to present their breads to the judges. This year, the final round of judging moves from behind closed doors to center stage. “The biggest selling point about this contest is that it is a good, old-fashioned cook-off,” says Kristina Vänni, culinary expert, food writer and owner of Cooking Contest Central. But the event will include much more than the cook-off. More than 60 volunteers will help set up and decorate, serve bread samples, and assist finalists and baking demonstrators. Volunteers from the Kansas Wheat Commission’s “Speak for Wheat” spokesperson program, K-State Research and Extension, Kansas Agri-Women and community partners will make sure the festival showcases baking skills and creativity in the Wheat State. According to Cindy Falk, Kansas Wheat nutrition educator and festival co-director, “The National Festival of Breads is also a tribute to wheat farmers, millers, home bakers and ingredient companies.” Falk also notes that because the event is held during the summer wheat harvest, sponsors such as John Deere can provide “field-to-flour” tours of abundant Kansas fields. Julene DeRouchey, assistant nutrition education educator and festival



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co-director, says that these type of farmer-to-baker connections help “show appreciation for agriculture and milling industries and stimulate interest in home baking across the nation.” An array of baking experts will be onstage to entertain and educate, featuring dynamic cookbook author Stephanie Petersen, best known as “Chef Tess Bakeresse”; Charlene Patton, TV celebrity from the Kansas Soybean Association; a representative from Red Star Yeast; and a King Arthur Flour “Bake for Good: Kids” instructor. For those wanting to get their hands on some dough, Sharon Davis, Home Baking Association program director and family and consumer sciences educator, will be providing workshops. Kansas-made products will be available from the many vendors that line the hotel hallways, including wheat weavings produced by the Kansas Wheat Weavers and stoneware from Elk Falls Pottery. There will be displays of bread sculptures, recipe handouts, door prizes and book signings. Other happenings include music, food trucks and children’s activities. Since Kansas provides a considerable portion of the nation’s wheat, it is only fitting this festival makes an effort to feed those in need. Proceeds from the “Popular Choice” voting and a silent auction will be donated to Harvesters Community Food Network, an initiative to help feed the hungry in northeastern Kansas. In addition to the national sponsors, state and community sponsors, such as the Kansas Soybean Commission, the Manhattan Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Manhattan Hy-Vee, continue to play an important and vital part in the festival’s success. Overall, the event is a day to celebrate a staple food as well as an appreciation of healthful eating and the people who make it possible. As Patrice Hurd, a finalist in the last two contests, says, the festival becomes “a technicolor view of the love and pride that Kansas wheat fields bring to the world.”

30 SPRING 2019


The Defending Champion

Seeded Corn and Onion Bubble Loaf Ronna Farley of Rockville, Maryland, won the 2017 National Festival of Breads contest with this recipe.

Ingredients • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

¼ cup milk 1 (¼ ounce) package RED STAR® Platinum Superior Baking Yeast® ½ cup unsalted butter ¾ cup finely diced yellow onion 1 clove garlic, minced 1 cup cream-style sweet corn ¼ cup granulated sugar 3 large eggs, divided 1 teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon black pepper 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, divided 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds, divided 2 cups King Arthur® White Whole Wheat Flour, plus extra for kneading 2 cups King Arthur® Unbleached Bread Flour ¾ cup frozen sweet corn kernels, thawed 1 tablespoon water


1. Heat milk until it reaches 110°F–115°F. Stir in yeast and wait 5–10 minutes for mixture to foam (proof). 2. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir 2 minutes. 3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle, combine skillet mixture, cream-style sweet corn, sugar, 2 eggs, salt, black pepper, 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, and 2 teaspoons black sesame seeds. Exchange paddle for dough hook. Stir in white whole wheat flour, bread flour, and yeast mixture; mix on low speed to blend ingredients. 4. Knead dough until smooth and elastic, 8 minutes. If needed, add additional white whole wheat flour, if dough is very sticky. Stir in thawed corn; mix on low speed 1 – 2 minutes or until incorporated in dough. 5. Place dough in greased bowl. Cover; let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Generously grease a 12-cup (10-inch) Bundt pan. 6. Deflate dough. Cut into 25 even pieces. Using lightly floured hands, shape dough into uniform rolls; layer in pan rounded side up. Cover; let rise until doubled, 40–50 minutes. 7. Near the end of the rise, preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush on dough; sprinkle with remaining seeds. 8. Bake 40–50 minutes or until golden brown. Tent the bread with foil after 25 minutes. The bread is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted registers about 200°F. Cool in pan on rack 10 minutes; loosen edges of bread with knife and transfer to rack to cool.​ Yield 1 loaf, 25 servings.

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Other Kansas Food Festivals a baker’s dozen

Check websites for times, location and if reservations/tickets are needed. WICHITA Death by Chocolate, February 23, 2019—Unlimited sweets, savory food and drinks from area restaurants, chefs and vendors during this evening fundraiser. exploration.org LIBERAL International Pancake Day, March 5, 2019—70th trans-Atlantic pancake race between Liberal and Olney, Buckinghamshire, England; a race where apron-clad women flip flapjacks and vie for victory. Gorge on pancakes and participate in local activities. pancakeday.net LAWRENCE Kansas Food Truck Festival, May 4, 2019—Regional food trucks with cuisine from across the world, live music and entertainment. ksfoodtruckfest.com MARYSVILLE Big Blue BBQ, May 31–June 1, 2019—KC BBQ Society-sanctioned event with tasting plus a community dessert contest, Kids Que Grilling Competition, and farmers market. bigbluebbqmarysville.com MANHATTAN Taste of Downtown, June 4, 2019—Sixth annual culinary event offers an opportunity to spend the evening sampling the best Manhattan downtown has to offer. downtownmhk.com LENEXA The Great Lenexa Barbeque Battle, June 21–22, 2019—Cooks from all over the country compete for a coveted title; event includes food vendors, children’s activities and live music. lenexa.com/bbq WICHITA Orpheum Celebrity & Chef Cookoff, June (Date/Time TBA)—Night of culinary celebration with an Iron Chef-style cooking competition featuring celebrity/chef teams. A taste of Wichita’s best restaurants and cocktails, with a silent auction that supports the historic Orpheum Theatre. wichitaorpheum.com

TOPEKA Fiesta Mexicana, July 16–20, 2019—86 years and still going strong, this fiesta includes traditional, homemade Mexican food, plus music and dancing. olgfiestamexicana.org SALINA Feast on the Fe, September (TBA)—Diners seated at tables on North Santa Fe Avenue partake of locally grown foods prepared by local chefs. localfoodworksfoundation.org NEWTON The Taste of Newton, October 3, 2019—Held in the heart of downtown, the 33rd festival includes food provided by 60+ vendors and an evening of live entertainment. newtonchamberks.org WICHITA St. George’s Lebanese Food Festival, October 12–13, 2019— Members of St. George Cathedral will serve plated meals including traditional offerings such as kibbee, stuffed cabbage rolls, pita bread and baklava at their 86th festival. LINDSBORG Svensk Hyllningsfest, October 18–19, 2019—Feast on a smorgasbord of Swedish food. Learn how to make Swedish pancakes, kringle and Swedish tea ring. Ethnic music, costumes, dance and crafts also on the schedule. svenskhyllningsfest.org LENEXA Serbian Food Festival and Bazaar, November 23, 2019—49th annual feast includes authentic dishes such as grilled lamb, cabbage rolls, beef stew, sausage, Serbian hamburger, and homemade strudels, crepes, donuts, tortes and potivica. Live entertainment and dancing. st-george-church.org


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Bluegrass and Botany In Belle Plaine, Robin Macy preserves old-time music and a treasure of trees

By Fally Afani | Photography by Aaron Patton and John D. Morrison

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t’s as if a favorite landscape painting has come to life. Winding roads, a canopy of trees, peaceful waters and—come spring—thousands and thousands of tulips as far as the eye can see. But Bartlett Arboretum, 15 acres of natural paradise just south of Wichita in Belle Plaine, is real—even if it is entirely unexpected. Just ask Robin Macy, the current steward who almost didn’t believe her eyes when she stumbled upon it entirely by chance. In the mid-1990s, Macy was a teacher and performing musician, a member of the up-and-coming Dixie Chicks, traveling on her way back from the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield when she got lost. “I made a wrong turn, it was a right turn,” she likes to joke. “I made the wrong turn on Highway 55 and I drove into Belle Plaine and saw the ‘for sale’ sign. The trees were huge, and that’s a paradox in Kansas. I could just tell it was dearly loved and cared for. It looked like the secret garden. It looked like something that was beloved, and that touched me.” What she discovered was a 100-year-old property, founded by Dr. Walter Bartlett. Though the arboretum had flourished for several generations in the Bartlett family, it was seeking a new owner at the moment Macy took her wrong turn into fate. The beauty

[Dr. Bartlett] planted trees that are enjoyed by a fourth generation. It takes a visionary who is not satisfied with immediate gratification— they take the long view.” –Robin Macy

and the history of the place compelled her to become the new caretaker. “I’ve always been a fan of the past. I love old guitars and old music and old people and old historic relics, and I was awestricken by its age,” she recalls. The long view Before diving into the work to restore the arboretum to its full glory, Macy dove into the history of how this lush green space grew out of the plains of Kansas. That’s where she discovered that Dr. Bartlett was a bit of a visionary. Though he resided in Kansas, he studied medicine in St. Louis and brought his botanical knowledge back across the border. “He could see what a green space would look like and returned to his home in Kansas and started planting trees,” says Macy, who notes the importance of preserving your life’s work long past your time. “I think that’s what Dr. Bartlett’s mantra must have been, so he planted trees that are enjoyed by a fourth generation. It takes a visionary who is not satisfied with immediate gratification—they take the long view.” Because of its location, sandwiched between the Arkansas and Ninnescah Rivers, the rich flood plain was able to produce trees that weren’t initially common in Kansas. The arboretum boasts a Japanese



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maple collection, a redbud collection, and a magnolia collection, to name a few. Additionally, Macy brought in an army of “soil sisters and brothers” to keep the space thriving. Macy notes that since she has recently turned 60, she is mindful of pacing herself and of finding suitable tasks for each person’s talents and abilities. “I love to garden, but I garden less and less, so the most important thing I can do is be a volunteer coordinator and beat the drums for the gloves of love, the people that come there that are attracted to this place,” she says. “A lot of times, people retire too soon. They think they want to quit working, then they think ‘Wait a minute, I still have lots to give to the planet.’ My greatest gift is figuring out what the gifts of others are and trying to franchise how they can be part of this.” Because of Macy’s extensive background in live music, it was only a matter of time before live musical performances had a presence at the arboretum. “Trees, alone, are not going to attract,” Macy says. “An arboretum is interesting to a small subset of botanists. But when you bring music in, it’s a perfect complement to the multiple different gardens.” Having friends in “the business” doesn’t hurt, either. “We have music on Sundays because we can attract national touring artists that are coming through anyway. We had 14 different concerts in 2018, but it really is to promote the arboretum. The music is there to enhance the space.” Having worked closely with youth as a geometry teacher, Macy believes it is


The privately owned Bartlett Arboretum is open “by appointment and by accident”—meaning people can schedule time in the arboretum in advance or happen upon open gates during a volunteer work day. The acres of forest and garden are also opened regularly throughout the year for a series of musical concerts and educational days, with a full schedule posted online at bartlettarboretum.com. Visitors are asked to leave a donation of $5–$10 in the entryway box; a supporting annual membership of $75 allows access to all concerts and open events throughout the year.

vitally important to provide environments like the arboretum for younger generations. She says works such as Last Child in the Woods, the landmark book of Richard Louv that identified the concept of “nature-deficiency,” resonate with what she has witnessed. “We are losing the toehold on the current generation coming up,” she laments. “Having taught school for 29 years, I really see kids are not allowed or interested as much in exploration of the great outdoors. It’s a disservice to them; they’re scared of spiders and snakes. Mother Nature’s the greatest teacher of all.” Macy also looks to improve the area around her, starting with Wichita. “We need to plant more trees, we need to learn from the Great Depression. Wichita is very earnestly working on reforestation; we are losing vast urban forests in Wichita,” she says. And she realizes the difficulty in promoting preservation over expansion through her own experiences. “There’s a picture of me hugging a tree that I almost cut down. I was going to cut down this tree because of a building project. It was a sweet gum— they’re messy and have these big pointy balls on the ground,” Macy recalls. “I broke down and sobbed because this tree is 80 years old and I thought, ‘Who the hell am I?’ So I hug that tree pretty regularly and apologize and say please forgive me. We worked the project around that tree. I feel like people don’t always respect their elders. If that makes me a tree-hugger, so be it.”

36 SPRING 2019


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THE MUSIC OF ROBIN MACY A founding member of the Dixie Chicks, Robin Macy has focused the last few decades on traditional bluegrass and old-time American music, both as a solo artist and as a member of vocal trio The Cherokee Maidens. In a grand and beautiful marriage of music and Mother Nature, much of her recent songwriting has centered on her immediate surroundings.

“Because I have been inspired by the arboretum, something titillated me to write this new catalogue of tunes in a record called Truth,” she says. “It really is an environmental record, songs that reflect the truths and experiences that have crossed my heart.” Macy’s songs address everything from colony collapse (Macy says she lost 21 beehives a few years ago due to pesticides in the fields surrounding the arboretum) to train noise. “Currently I’m working in the quiet zone of the train tracks. We have five crossings in Belle Plaine, and they come every five minutes and blow their horn.” Train horns are typically 125 decibels, with some reaching 150 decibels. Since the trains cross every five minutes, Macy can record music for only three minutes at a time before the next one comes. “Music is a powerful tool to tell stories to illuminate, to shine a light on the good, bad, and the ugly,” she says. “A lot of my music was lauding the arboretum and lifting it up, but this record is a call to wake up and pay attention. I want to do this record even if it’s the last record. I think it’s an important one to finish.”

SOUNDS LIKE ey l l a V t Walnustival Fe The

ars 50 ye d s e h s an oac appr ew face s n tune with less time

In the late 1960s, folk music was one of the biggest trends both across the nation and at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas, where I was a student. At that time, I would take my acoustic guitar down to a local coffee house to play with others of a like mind and run into people like Stuart Mossman, a fellow guitarist who practiced a style of playing I was not familiar with, but would later learn as “flatpicking.” Looking back, I realize that this moment was my introduction to bluegrass music, a hobby I have pursued for the past 50 years, and it was also my introduction to one of the nation’s best bluegrass and folk music events—the Walnut Valley Festival, also known as “Winfield.” I wasn’t the only one who was introduced to bluegrass by Mossman. In 1967, he came to the Cultural Arts Board of Southwestern College and suggested a music festival be held on the campus with big-name bluegrass and folk performers. They went for it. That first festival was so successful that Mossman struck an alliance

PHOTOGRAPH BriJoRae Pusch-Zuniga


Walnut Valley Festival where the soul of the festival can be found, with music coming with financial backers in Winfield to sponsor a more ambitious from every direction. Each circle of musicians, large or small, festival at the local fairgrounds in 1972. This became the first Winfield festival. Now an annual fixture for the past 47 years and has an unspoken invitation for you to stop and listen or, if you brought your instrument, play along. Standard tunes such as always the third weekend in September (although it is a five-day “Saint Ann’s Reel,” “The Wreck of the Old ’97,” “Rocky Top” and festival now), the festival’s attendance has grown from a few dozens of others are played and replayed all day and well into hundred to nearly 15,000. the night. In fact, the music never stops. Things are not quite Over those years, Winfield has built a reputation as a as lively at 5 a.m. as they are at midnight, but the diehards do musician’s music festival. People who don’t play a guitar, banjo not fade away easily. or any other instrument are welcome, but Winfield isn’t the Over the years, as the festival became more well known, type of event where people come primarily to listen and drink. participants began coming from all over the United States The thousands that arrive come for the stage music, but equally (and other countries). Getting there early and staking out a as much for the pick-up jam sessions that go on at every prime camping spot became an art. The old-timers refer to this campground, the camping and the family-friendly atmosphere. as the “land rush” and get their vehicles in line days before the In fact, the festival’s policy clearly states no drugs, beer, alcohol event begins. Once the gates open, they rush or firearms are permitted. to their favorite spot for camping and stake When I attend the festival, I arrive at “Life’s out their territory. the Winfield fairgrounds early and meander circumstances Ron Meier of Big Springs has attended through the three or four stages. In the past, each Winfield festival since 1984. He has seen I’ve been able to hear legends such as Lester cause some folks some of these camping groups continue at Flatt of Flatt and Scruggs fame, Doc Watson to miss the festival the same spot throughout the decades, while and his son Merle, who championed the for a time and others have come and gone. art of flatpicking, fiddler Byron Berline, the then return. It is “Life’s circumstances cause some folks New Grass Revival, and guitarists Dan Crary always special to to miss the festival for a time and then return. and Norman Blake to mention a few. Those reconnect with It is always special to reconnect with your names may not be familiar to those under 40, Winfield family. We have had births and but they were the Eric Claptons of the ’70s your Winfield deaths, weddings and funerals,” Meier says. acoustic music scene. family. We have Topekan Stuart Yoho, another regular Other stages are reserved for the had births and attendee, notes how friendships develop over flatpicking, mandolin, fiddle and banjo deaths, weddings the years of gathering at Winfield. competitions. Big money and bragging rights and funerals.” “I camp adjacent to a bunch of friends are there for the winners. Some of the most that build a ‘pickin’ parlor’ under a parachute. talented musicians have come up through the We enjoy the camaraderie and celebrate ranks of national contests like these and now Big Springs life changes of joy and sorrow together. I’ve are regular fixtures on tours with the big name learned my best banjo licks and my go-to groups out of Nashville. rhythm technique at the festival. Last year Beyond the stages are the commercial I was asked by a friend, who learned that I’m a reverend, to vendor booths. In the early years, these had a hippie-vibe to officiate a 10-year anniversary renewal of vows for a couple I had them, and you could stock up on beads and thread and leather never met. I’ve attended a couple of weddings at the festival and and all manner of hats and vests. too many end-of-life ceremonies,” Yoho says with a sigh. Luthiers and instrument vendors have always been a Having attended the festival both as a young man and major portion of the festival. I’ve stopped and played Vega a not-as-young man, I’ve come to value how the festival Deering banjos, Martin and Taylor and Gibson guitars as welcomes and brings together people of all generations and well as mandolins and fiddles of almost every type and price all backgrounds. I have always found plenty of opportunities range. Strings, straps, cases, and all sorts of instrumental to break out the harmonica from my pocket or the guitar or accouterments are available for purchase. mandolin slung over my shoulder and join in the music in a After leaving the vending areas, I usually spend most of hundred places at the festival. my time wandering among the campsites, parked vans, tents And if that isn’t a good festival, then what is? and campfires that are scattered throughout the periphery –Bill Stephens and into the pecan and walnut groves. In my opinion, this is

PHOTOGRAPHS BriJoRae Pusch-Zuniga

Ron Meier



Backstage THE NEW

The Walnut Valley Festival passes to a new generation, but continues with a core group of longtime coordinators and dedicated volunteers

Walnut Valley Festival

PHOTOGRAPHS (FROM LEFT) Bill Stephens, Sheridan Flottman

Like thousands of kids, Bart Redford grew up a Walnut Valley Festival child. “I can remember running around down on the grounds, pretty much as early as I can remember,” reminisces the Winfield native. “I’m a little bit older than the festival, but not by much. I can remember working at the info booth. I think they used me as a courier. As I grew up on the campgrounds, I did everything from being the go-fer to gathering up the trash.” In retrospect, Redford might not have had much choice— his father, Bob Redford, was president of the Walnut Valley Association and founder of the event along with Joe Muret and Stuart Mossman. If you were a Redford in Winfield, you worked at the festival alongside hundreds of other community volunteers. Eventually Redford moved away for school and jobs, getting his master’s degree in Soviet and Eastern European studies at the University of Kansas, and then spending more than seven years in Russia working for different NGOs before returning to the University of Kansas to become associate director of the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies from 2008 to 2017. During the years back at KU, Redford also returned to Winfield. He volunteered, filled in at whatever jobs were needed, worked with his wife to develop a festival app, and simply enjoyed being on the festival campgrounds, an experience he describes as a homecoming—seeing old friends and haunts and sharing in something akin to a family reunion. “I’d see those people once a year, but it was such a good feeling: rolling into camp and getting set up and hanging out with folks and catching up a bit, but also listening to some great music and just having a good time,” Redford says. “People get down there, and this is something that they feel like—no matter where they’re from or who they are, they have a place.” When Bob Redford passed away in December 2016, his wife, Kendra, inherited the business and, along with a group of coordinators, kept the festival going for its 47th installment in 2017. In March 2018, Bart took over from his mother as the Walnut Valley Association’s executive director. He describes the position as a facilitator for the dozens of key staff and 12 local

coordinators who have been handling specific aspects of the festival for years, and even decades. “They each manage an area—from grounds operations to ticket sales and so on,” explains Redford of how the coordinators work. “It’s an arrangement where we all sort of operate in our areas. A lot of what I do is manage communication between areas, and then we get together for meetings where we discuss some of the strategic issues, but it really feels like something where I’m part of a team and they know what they’re doing.” And what the Winfield team does is to provide five days of music for crowds of up to 15,000 people at the Winfield fairgrounds and camping sites. Over the years, numerous artists have become associated with the festival such as autoharp player Bryan Bowers, singers like John McCutcheon and Tom Chapin, and the genre-defying Marley’s Ghost, to name a few. On top of that, there have been emerging musicians and groups who went on to big things: Alison Krauss or an early incarnation of the Dixie Chicks, for example. Even with all the longtime artists, the Walnut Valley Festival still tries to bring in new artists every year, providing a sense of balance. Some of the artists, like Opal Agafia, started out playing on unofficial campground stages and have made their way into the official festival itself. Much like everything else with the festival, musicians are chosen by committee. In this case, it’s generally a group of four, plus a member at large—a member of the crew or key staff who gets pulled in to offer balance. “Everybody brings their own perspective,” explains Redford. “The type of music they like, the kind of performers they’re interested in, and we sort of put together our top ten lists and we get together and hash it out. I’ve heard it compared to building an airplane while in flight.” For Redford, this approach is simply another proven Winfield tradition. “My dad always talked about this: ‘We’re not the biggest, but possibly the best,’” concludes Redford. “We run a tight ship, where the folks that are doing this—they know their job, and they’re committed.” –Nick Spacek

OPPOSITE Stuart Mossman (in dark shirt) and Brent Pearce (in white shirt) play their guitars at Winfield’s Black Eye Coffeehouse, part of the early folk music scene in the city that led to the creation of the Walnut Valley Festival. ON THIS PAGE Bart Redford, front row and fourth from right, sits with Walnut Valley Festival coordinators and crew chief.

43 SPRING 2019

Walnut Valley Festival

Seven Questions with the Bluegrastronauts

Each year, the performance stages of Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield feature a range of legends and up-and-coming bands. One young group to premiere in 2019 is the Bluegrastronauts, an ensemble of Julie Bates on the violin, “Biscuit” Betsey Mae Graves on the bass, Chad “Gravy Boat” Graves on the resonating guitar and Andrew Morris on the rhythm guitar. We sat down with Morris to talk about the group and what performing at the festival means for them.


ANDREW MORRIS (AM): Julie and I had been playing together as a duo since 2012. We toured and lived out of our van while performing traditional music. But we were looking to do something different and had written a song, “Bluegrastronauts” and formed a concept around it. Then we met Chad and Betsey in 2017 and thought they would be a perfect fit.

KM: Your name suggests your music is a combination of roots and futuristic music, but do you think it sounds that way? AM: Our album of music is bluegrass, country, old-time and some Cajun-inspired, but all traditional Americana music. If you just listen to most of the record, you won’t even notice it is space-themed. There are a lot of people doing something musically progressive, but we wanted something that might be conceptually progressive, but where the music was old-time and rooted in tradition. We play the same music that people who pick on their guitars in the campgrounds of Winfield will play.

KM: How important are festivals like this to working musicians? AM: Really important—on multiple levels. Festivals in general are where you play and work up your music. On the next level, Winfield is a great place to play in front of other people who are interested in this kind of music and know traditional and bluegrass styles. It means a lot to play in front of people who know this common canon of musicians whom we all revere. Finally, it’s really cool for us to play on stages where our heroes have played, people like John Harper, Tim O’Brien, Betse Ellis and others. To feel that in some way you are accepted by this community is humbling and moving.

KM: Tell us about touring Kansas and the Midwest in general. AM: It’s great. We just did a tour on the East Coast and New York City, and parking is terrible! [laughs] That’s one thing; logistically it is easier. But the people and audiences in the Midwest are just genuinely nice and seem excited to hear it live. It’s a stereotypical thing, but Midwesterners are good people and appreciative audiences.

KM: What do you have planned for your Walnut Valley Festival

KM: Where do you see Midwest folk/roots music going in the

premiere? AM: Our full Bluegrastronauts Space-Opera Show! But we’ll probably also do a set of traditional and older tunes.

coming years? AM: I think the Midwest is good place to be a musician. It’s under the radar, a bit cheaper to live and artists can make a living. As for the scene, I hope there become more community centers and places to play music—the more people play music for fun, the more it creates a better atmosphere for music.

KM: Is it different playing for a festival like Winfield where the audience is primarily musicians? AM: Winfield means a lot to us because all of our friends go down there and play in the campground. It is playing for our friends. It is a little bit intimidating when you know there are musicians in the audience, but we hope we are doing stuff that other people like.

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PHOTOGRAPH Michael C. Snell

KANSAS! MAGAZINE (KM): Tell us about the formation of the

Kansas Music Festivals A dozen 2019

By Thaddeus Haverkamp

PHOTOGRAPHS (CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT) BriJoRae Pusch-Zuniga, courtesy Symphony in the Flint Hills (2) and courtesy Rick Diamond-Country Stampede (2)

Walnut Valley Festival




RIVERFEST May 31–June 8 Wichita


COUNTRY STAMPEDE June 20–22 Manhattan

Wichita’s Riverfest began in 1970 as part of the city’s centennial celebration. Almost 50 years later, the city still hosts a 9-day celebration of food, music, arts and more. Concerts and events will be held at venues throughout the city. wichitariverfest.com

The theme for this year’s Symphony in the Flint Hills event is “Ad Astra,” which most Kansans will recognizes as Latin for “to the stars.” The nonprofit organization will host an array of cultural and educational activities during the day and end the night with a “sub astra” performance by the Kansas City Symphony. Price

$95 for general admission VIP patron tickets available

Country music royalty will gather for three days in the Little Apple’s Country Stampede Music Fest. Dust off your boots and Stetsons for the likes of Jason Aldean, Old Dominion and Clint Black. Price

$120 for a three-day pass. Three-day “Jump the Line” passes for $130. Other price levels available. countrystampede.com (800) 795-8091




Walnut Valley Festival BUTLER COUNTY DAM MUSIC FESTIVAL July 25–27 El Dorado Lake | El Dorado



LOVEGRASS MUSIC FESTIVAL August 9–11 Wilson State Park

DANCEFESTOPIA September 5–8 Emerald City | La Cygne

$89, general admission weekend passes “Party Pit” access pass, $250 Campsite passes available

The Lovegrass Music Festival once again brings music and art to the beauty of the Flint Hills. This is the fourth year the fest gets “Back to the Roots” with a weekend of music and fun along the shores of Wilson State Park.

Dancefestopia (DFT) brings its magic back to the land of Oz in La Cygne’s Emerald City. The four-day dance-music festival will feature over 100 DJs as well as outdoor attractions like helicopter tours, rock climbing walls and zip lines.

dammusicfest.com | (855) 279-6920

Free admission

Prices vary



The Dam Music Festival returns for its third year of outdoor hootin’ and hollerin’ with some of the biggest acts in country and rock music. Legends like Toby Keith, Hank Williams Jr. and Lynyrd Skynyrd will be on hand to rock the Kansas nights. Price


This Wichita fest promises attendees two days of urban camping and live music. Enjoy the outdoors from the comforts of a city while quaffing craft beer and dancing to a lineup of Americana and alt-country musicians.


Join bluegrass fans, musicians and champions-to-be in Lawrence’s beautiful South Park for a Sunday of competitions, performances and open jam sessions. The Replay Lounge, Lucia and Americana Music Academy will host various acts on Friday and Saturday night.


Tickets range from $15 for the “Pancake Pack-Up Party” to $100 for the “Vortex VIP Festival Pass.”




Vary for the Friday and Saturday venues The Sunday event is free to the public.

48 SPRING 2019


PHOTOGRAPHS (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT) Ryan Coody, courtesy of Blues Masters, courtesy of Lindsborg CVB/Jim Turner, BriJoRae Pusch-Zuniga and Fally Afani







Camping Available





HASKELL INDIAN ART MARKET Second weekend of September Haskell Indian Nations University campus | Lawrence


Haskell Indian Nations University features Native artists, vendors, dancers and musicians. The dances and musical performances are often preceded by background information about the history, cultural and spiritual significance of the performance.

This internationally acclaimed music festival is universally referred to as simply “Winfield.” The five-day festival of folk and bluegrass has drawn generations of American roots music lovers since 1972.



$95 for full-festival tickets purchased in advance (February 16–September 3) $100 for full-festival tickets purchased after September 3 Pricing options for specific days available.

At the end of every October, Salina’s Blue Heaven Studios invites a “who’s who” of blues music greats to perform in their recording studio and other local venues. Everyone from master musicians to talented newcomers will fill the old church building with the sweet, soulful music of the blues.



Free admission Price haskell.edu/hiam | (785) 749-8467


Walnut Valley Festival


Whether your family hails from the Old Country or not, Lindsborg’s annual Svensk Hyllningsfest offers everyone a smorgasbord of all things Swedish. The two-day, city-wide festival features food, music, arts, crafts and more. Price

Prices vary by event. Many are free. svenskhyllningsfest.org

49 SPRING 2019

letting the strings sing A Merriam violin maker creates instruments for professional and beginner musicians

Story by Thaddeus Haverkamp

Photography by Kevin Anderson


Lined up and glowing brightly with varnishes of browns, golds and blondes, the violins, violas, basses and cellos along the walls of K.C. Strings in Merriam give the appearance that the newly renovated building is more art gallery than music shop. But the instruments—though beautiful and intricate—are intended for performance, the results of a lifetime of work for master luthier (instrument maker) Anton Krutz. Born in 1968 in the Russian cultural center of St. Petersburg (when the city still bore its Soviet name of Leningrad), Krutz was just eight years old when his family immigrated to the United States and settled in Kansas City. Even then, he had already spent 5 years studying the violin. Perhaps his early start in music was inevitable because his father was a professional bass player, his mother and grandfather professional violinists and his maternal grandmother an opera singer. “Our family had a pretty deep tradition of music,” Krutz recalls. Over the years, Krutz tried several other instruments, but it was in junior high when he realized that he wanted to make a career out of making his own violins. He apprenticed with a violin maker in Kansas City when he was 12 and attended Violin Making School of America in Salt Lake City, Utah. Though it is a four-year school, Krutz graduated in three, partly because of his unique history with his craft. “I had so much training beforehand,” Krutz says. “So it was a very, very fluid transition.” After Utah, he went to New York to apprentice for two years, creating his own violins while earning money on repairs. “I was making violins at night and on the weekends and restoring one-quarter to half-million dollar instruments during the day,” he recalls. Krutz points to two main aspects of the instrument that have inspired him. The first is the violin’s 400-year history and what Krutz describes as “this immense history and immense folklore dealing

(continued on page 56)

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Kansas Luthiers and Instrument Stores to Know Amos Hargrave Hargrave specializes in violin manufacturing, repair and restoration. An appointment is suggested. Lawrence | (785) 838-3757 amoshargraveviolins.com Beautiful Music Violin Shop This stringed instrument shop provides sales, rentals, repairs and restorations as well as classes and workshops. Lawrence | (785) 856-8755 beautifulmusicviolinshop.com G. B. & J. Ray Fine Violins Gary, Beryl and Jonathan Ray specialize in selling and repairing French violins of the first half of the 20th century. Wichita | (316) 684-1031 wichitaband.com/violin.html The G Clef Provides band instruments and repairs. Silver Lake | (785) 582-5151 Glenn’s Music Glenn’s offers repairs and sales of a wide variety of instruments, including stringed and fretted. They also offer music instruction and rental instruments. Manhattan | (785) 539-1926 Goering String Instruments Provides stringed instrument sales and maintenance. Topeka | (785) 230-0165 K.C. Strings This flagship store of master luthier Anton Krutz sells and rents stringed instruments from beginners’ models to professional pieces handcrafted by Krutz and his staff. They also provide a space for lessons, workshops and recitals. Merriam | (913) 677-0400 kcstrings.com

Mike Black Mandolins Handmade mandolins in ranges of styles and traditions. Lawrence blackmandolins.com Mike Huddleson Stringed Instruments Specializes in handcrafting hammered dulcimers. Wichita | (316) 524-0997 McHugh Violins Repairs and restorations of orchestral stringed instruments and bows. Wichita | (316) 681-2925 mcfiddles.com Marples Violins Doug Marples produces one-of-akind violins, violas and cellos in the classic Italian tradition. Lawrence | (785) 424-3387 marplesviolins.com Leo Posch Handmade guitars and banjos. McLouth | (913) 796-6400 leoposch.com Steve Mason Luthiers and Violin Handmade instruments and affordable conversions. Lawrence | (785) 841-0277 ask-a-luthier.com Stringman John Davis offers repair, sales and rentals of orchestral string instruments and instrument bows. Salina | (785) 827-9909

I was making violins at night and on the weekends and restoring one-quarter to halfmillion-dollar instruments during the day.”

–Anton Krutz

with the violin family.” The second is the emotional resonance that Krutz feels comes from the string family more than any other instrument. “The great instruments, the master-quality instruments, the Italian instruments—and I feel my instruments—they have a sound that goes beyond just being a wooden box with metal strings; they becomes like a voice.” For that reason, Krutz took as his company motto “Creating the Voice of Strings.” “That’s unique,” says Krutz, “because the voice takes three elements: moisture, heat and air,” something he notes the violin family duplicates. “If you listen to great players playing great instruments and you close your eyes; it’s almost like listening to someone singing.” Following this search to perfect his craft, Krutz opened his flagship storefront, K.C. Strings, in 1992. His initial intent was simple: to open a small boutique with a small repair shop in the back and make violins. Now, some 26 years later, Krutz has just expanded his business. First he purchased two adjacent buildings to expand his repair and manufacturing business. Then he had to split the two entirely. Krutz now owns two companies: K.C. Strings, the original shop, and Krutz Strings, the manufacturing company. Between the two businesses Krutz now oversees a staff of 40 and just took over a much larger manufacturing space in a nearby business park. His new shop is cluttered with the tools and supplies of his craft. Rooms are lined with unfinished violins, violas and cellos. Other rooms hold nearly five tons of raw wood needed to make his instruments, and one has the secret ingredients to Krutz’s own proprietary varnish: something he says every luthier has and guards with their lives. Despite his expansion, Krutz still maintains his office in the storefront and helps his customers young and old. “We had a mom and her three-year-old coming in for their first rental violin,” Krutz recalls, “and the concert master for the Kansas City Symphony came in to have his bow restrung. So they were standing side-by-side.”

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Advice to Beginners K.C. Strings shop manager Sonja Richardson started playing violin when she was only two, so she is a natural advocate for those who have decided to take up a stringed instrument. She has this advice for new players. 1. FIND THE RIGHT TEACHER “There are a lot of good online resources, but someone who is hands-on and can address your needs immediately is the best thing you can have.” 2. SELECT THE PROPER INSTRUMENT “We get a lot of people who get frustrated because they have an instrument that is not set up right. Then they switch to an instrument that is set up right and it helps them out a lot.” 3. FORGET AGE “It’s never too late to learn.”

K A N S A S !







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