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Weather is a theme for museum’s annual Kansas Day event

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Weather will be a special theme for Celebrate Kansas Day!, the annual event marking the birthday of the state of Kansas (147 this year) at Bethel College’s Kauffman Museum, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 26.

The museum will be open free of charge for its 11th Celebrate Kansas Day!, with activities for people of all ages from 1:30-4:30 p.m.

As always, there will be special events in the museum auditorium, a fund-raising bake sale, flea market and silent auction sponsored by the Friends of the Kauffman Museum, make-it-and-take-it crafts and demonstrations both indoors and out.

Some of the items for sale include 245 tagged Beanie Babies from a private collection, in pristine condition with original tags and ranging in price from $1 to $5; a number of glass art pieces from a local artist; and, at silent auction, a sandhill crane wall hanging quilted by local artist Ethel Abrahams, made from a banner that she won on a Kauffman Museum bus tour to Kearny, Neb., to see the sandhill crane migration.

Popular activities returning from previous years are horse-drawn wagon rides by Jan and Winston Sommerfeld, owners of Country Boys Carriage in rural Newton, wood-hewing demonstrations, and old-fashioned schoolyard games such as stilts, marbles and jump-rope. Steve Hurlock of Wichita will do blacksmithing and there will be popcorn popping in a kettle over an open fire.

The first event in the auditorium, beginning at 1:45, will be “Dust Bowl conversations” with Raylene Hinz-Penner, a former Newton resident and a literature and writing teacher at Washburn University in Topeka. She will interview elders who were young adults during the Dust Bowl days in Oklahoma (where Hinz-Penner grew up) and western Kansas, including Galen Koehn and Roland Schmidt of North Newton, both originally from the Pawnee Rock area, and Berta Miller of Hesston, originally from Protection.

At 2:30, meteorologist Mark Larson from KWCH Storm Team 12 in Wichita will talk about “Severe weather and the Sunflower State: A little history and some safety tips for the future.” In addition to his work at KWCH, Larson is a popular speaker at area grade schools.

At 3:15, Chris Kliewer, an architect with WDM Architects P.A. in Wichita, will present “Making Greensburg green.” After the deadly tornado that destroyed most of the town of Greensburg in May 2007, Kliewer made a proposal to Governor Kathleen Sebelius for rebuilding the town as a model of “green design” and sustainability. He will report on how this proposal is being followed up.

At 4 p.m., there will be a Pioneer Parade in the auditorium for those who came to Celebrate Kansas Day! dressed in pioneer clothing. Everyone who participates in the Pioneer Parade will receive a prize.

Weather-related crafts to make and take home will include wind socks, snowflakes, tornado tubes, sundials, bean-bag snowmen, rain shakers and kites, along with pine cone bird feeders and Kansas animal ears.

The Voth-Unruh-Fast farmstead, with its house, barn and windmill, will be open for visits during the afternoon, as will a replica of a Plains Indian teepee, a popular exhibit from previous years.

All Celebrate Kansas Day! activities will be held at Kauffman Museum, 27th and North Main in North Newton. For more information, call Kauffman Museum at (316) 283-1612.

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