Sunday, April 25, 2010

Wamego Tulip Festival - Sunday, April 18, 2010

When I woke up on Sunday morning, I was pretty tired from the Table Tennis tournament the day before........but nothing could keep me from driving the 90 minutes to Wamego for the Tulip Festival.

Wamego, Kansas is west of Kansas City and just north of I-70. The town lies between the Kansas River and the Union Pacific Railroad lines. I never found a good history for the town but even though the old Oregon Trail passes just to the north, I suspect that the town actually got its start from the coming of the railroad. Of course, the railroad line roughly follows the Oregon Trail and you can chase both of them back to Independence which is the start of the Oregon Trail. Just for good measure, they also built U. S. 24 Highway along the railroad lines. I suppose that the Kansas River also figured into the plan somehow. The trail seems to follow at the foot of the northern bluffs of the Kansas River in the places we checked it on the map. More speculation on my part, but this is probably a good idea for the Trail since you are not climbing hills but you are slightly elevated from the river bed to avoid floods. Hey, if you can't find the real information, make it up as you go.

Wamego is a neat little town that is working hard not to become obsolete. They have revitalized their downtown and city park not only for the residents but to also draw tourists. They have several festivals each year and do manage to draw a fair number of tourists to the town. As a number of other Kansas towns have done, Wamego has adopted the "Wizard of Oz" theme as you will see in the photos. Their fall festival is called Oztober Fest.

The most famous person to come from Wamego is Walter Chrysler.........the guy who built cars. If you have read our Hawaiian blogs, you know how much I love the Chrysler Sebring. Interesting how our paths have crossed again.

Here is a photo of the Oz Winery in downtown Wamego. Most of the downtown buildings are pretty colorful.

This is the Oz Museum. It reportedly has 20,000 Oz related items. I would have loved to check it out but they were closed. An odd thing when you have a major festival going on in town.

Toto's Tacos........who would have guessed that a taco shop would be named after a famous dog.

This is the town theater. They spent $1.8 million rehabbing it. The interior photos look fabulous but it was also closed.

That is our Odyssey in front of the old buildings. We are getting pretty close to 90,000 miles on the 2006 minivan.
As it turns out, there aren't very many tulips in Wamego. I had visions of fields of flowers, but they really only have three small patches in town. I guess the tulips are as good a reason for a spring festival as needed.

A piece of railroad history. They quit using caboose's years ago.
This John's business probably dried up years ago.

Behind the scenes at the BBQ booth.

A few more tulips.

This windmill is the real deal. It was built in 1879 by a Dutchman to grind grain. A photo of a board giving the history is upcoming. I think you can read it if you click on it to enlarge the photo.

This last patch of tulips are right in front of the windmill.

It is a large and pretty community park.

All the flowering trees and tulips were on their last legs but they still had charm.

The Wamego Museum was also closed. Maybe we were there too early.

They have a number of old buildings in the park. They were also the real deal and not just recreated versions. I suspect that they were moved from their original locations.

The old jailhouse.

Lots of homemade stuff at the festival.

This group of high school rockers were poluting the air with very loud guitar rifts and vocals/primal screams that were totally out of tune. They never played more than half of a song before quiting and starting over. I guess they were trying to get it right but it never got better. It irrated me at first and then it became laughable and somehow fit the occasion in an Oz sort of way.

Every little town park has to have their canon.

We passed up Toto's Tacos and all the good smelling booths to eat at the Friendship House Restaurant. Sigrid and I both had a nice pulled pork sandwich.

The Dogwood trees were in bloom.

A nice trip. More is coming.


  1. Thanks for visiting Wamego!

    The OZ Museum is actually only closed a few days a year(Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas and then the Monday after OZtoberFest). Their hours are: Monday-Saturday (10-5) and then Sunday (noon-5). The collection is really remarkable and has attracted a lot of world wild publicity and 30,000 visitors just last year!

    As for John's Saddle Shop, this business is anything but "dried up". John has a clientele from all over the country. His superb leather work has attracted a lot of attention. Judging his business by the facade is like judging a book by its cover as it's definitely more than meets the eye!

    Wamego is also home to thousands of Tulips not only in the park, but in the planters downtown and in the yards of its residents.

    Thanks again for visiting and I hope next time you can see Wamego with "new eyes". :)

  2. Thanks for your comments.

    I was surprised to find that John's was still open for business. Even if the sign on the door had been turned over to "Open", I wouldn't have believed it. I would have assumed that someone forgot to turn it over years ago when the lights were turned out. Sometimes you just can't help but judge a book by its cover in extreme cases. I hope John has good liability insurance....despite it's photographic charm, the entrance looks risky.

    As for the tulips, it is a matter of perspective and personal experience as to whether there are a few or a lot of them.