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“Multicultural Kansas” is theme for Kauffman Museum event

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The cultural diversity of Kansas will be on display at Celebrate Kansas Day!, the annual event marking the birthday of the state of Kansas (148 this year) at Bethel College’s Kauffman Museum, Saturday, Jan. 31.

The museum will be open free of charge for its 12th Celebrate Kansas Day!, with activities for people of all ages from 1:30-4:30 p.m.

Events include 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.

The three programs scheduled for the museum auditorium reflect Kansas’ cultural richness as do the choice of craft activities.

At 1:45, there will be a performance by the Irish dancers from the Bethel College Academy of Performing Arts.

At 2:45, Mirasol, a mariachi trio from Derby, will perform. Mirasol is a group of friends who formed a band eight years ago to play for weddings, funerals, quinceañeras and anniversaries and then expanded to other public and private events. Mirasol is Manual Duran, guitar, Louise Duran, accordion, and Frank Arias, vocal and guitar, with Eva Arias as the group’s booking agent.

Finally, at 3:45, Eugene Cameron, Wichita, will tell stories. Cameron, whose Native name is Baska, is an enrolled member of the Southern Ponca tribe of northern Oklahoma, Clan Hisada (“Cedar”). He has served as a museum tour guide at the Indian Center in Wichita. In 2001, he won an award for storytelling at a Wichita powwow, and he currently volunteers for USD 259 Wichita Public Schools as a Native American storyteller.

Popular activities returning to Celebrate Kansas Day! from previous years are horse-drawn wagon rides by Jan and Winston Sommerfeld, owners of Country Boys Carriage in rural Newton, wood-hewing and log-splitting demonstrations and old-fashioned schoolyard games such as stilts, marbles and jump-rope. Bill Moffet of Rose Hill will do blacksmithing and there will be popcorn popping in a kettle over an open fire. Two demonstrations new in 2008, Dutch oven cooking and broom-making, are back this year.

The make-it-and-take-it craft activities and some demonstrations that are new this year are also planned to highlight cultural diversity in Kansas. Demonstrations include flint knapping (making tools from flint stone), Native American beadwork, Ukrainian egg decorating and Dala horse painting (a Swedish tradition).

Craft and activity choices will include the egg decorating and Dala horse painting, along with Japanese origami, tortilla making, African masks, Vietnamese dragons, parfleche making (a simple Native American carrying pouch traditionally made of animal hide and decorated with abstract designs), Indian chai and Guatemalan dress-up, along with traditional pioneer crafts such as butter-making and corn shelling.

“We’re encouraging families to bring cameras to take photos at the Guatemalan dress-up booth,” said Andi Schmidt Andres, Kauffman Museum curator of education.

The Voth-Unruh-Fast farmstead, with its wood-heated house, along with a 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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