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Extended 2015 Kansas Day events at museum to focus on transportation

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The popular annual Kansas Day celebration at Bethel College’s Kauffman Museum will have extended programming this year.

In addition to many of the usual activities and opportunities in and around the museum itself on Jan. 31, there will a special presentation at 11 a.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center.

Historical interpreter Ann Birney will perform “Amelia Earhart, Live!” in keeping with this year’s Kansas Day theme, “Transportation.”

Birney, of Admire, is an independent scholar in American studies and a member of the Kansas Alliance of Professional Historical Performers.

Following the program, Kansas Day visitors are invited to the Bethel cafeteria for a special brunch, from noon-1 p.m. This is the only thing on the schedule for which ticket purchase is required (at the door): adults $6.75 each (two for $12), children age 5 and older $4.

“I’m excited that we are adding some new elements to Kansas Day this year,” said Andi Schmidt Andres, Kauffman Museum curator of education. “We’ve always wanted to offer something in the morning, so we’ve scheduled historical interpreter Ann Birney.

“We’ve also wanted to include a lunch option, so we worked with Aladdin, Bethel College’s food service, to offer a meal option for the public in the college cafeteria. We don’t require reservations, but we would appreciate a head count if families know they are coming.”

Call Kauffman Museum at 316-283-1612 if you plan to eat in the cafeteria, where the menu will be a brunch, including a hot breakfast with eggs, bacon and sausage, Belgian waffles, burritos (with vegetarian option), baked potato bar, salad bar and desserts.

“Equally exciting is the tractor, truck and car show this year,” Andres continued. “Monty Graber has done a great job lining up vehicles. There will be a real variety, from a ‘rat rod’ to a new Agco tractor to an antique fire engine.”

The vehicle show opens at noon in the Kauffman Museum parking lot at 27th and Main in North Newton. Among the vehicles on display will be a Ford Model T, a 1951 GMC grain truck, a cutter (small horse-drawn sleigh), a 1970s VW camper van, a 1958 Oliver 770 tractor and a car restored through the McPherson College program.

From 1-4 p.m., there are a range of choices on the museum grounds.

Three presentations in the Kauffman Museum auditorium deal with a diversity of transportation-related topics.

At 1:15 will be a program presented by representatives of the automotive restoration program at McPherson College.

At 2:15, Bill Fitzgerald will present “Operation Lifesaver” and at 3:15 will be Keven Hiebert with “The Horse and Dog in Native American Culture.”

Fitzgerald’s program is an illustrated talk on train safety. He will bring a car that was struck by a train, which will be on display in the vehicle show in the parking lot.

Hiebert is a farmer, taxidermist and historical interpreter from Goessel, who has been bringing the Native American teepee to Kansas Day for the past decade.

Special displays and activities related to the transportation theme include the Kansas Aviation Museum, a Kaye Electric light-up bike, travel memorabilia and a transportation scavenger hunt.

Make-it-and-take-it craft stations this year are paper airplanes, a covered wagon craft, train engineer hats, stick puppet vehicles and a Chisholm Trail cattle stamp.

There will also be corn shelling and a beginner’s spokeshave bench, along with demonstrations of rope making, “woodsman” skills and blacksmithing with Bill Moffett of Rose Hill.

Popular outdoor events planned are old-fashioned schoolyard games; wagon rides, weather permitting, both tractor-drawn and horse-drawn (from Country Boys Carriage); outdoor popcorn popping; and the Native American teepee.

The restored farmhouse will be heated and open for touring.

The Friends of Kauffman Museum will sponsor their annual Kansas Day bake sale. The museum store will be open.

The 2015 Celebrate Kansas Day! event is supported by a North Newton Community Development Grant.

For more information on the 18th annual Celebrate Kansas Day! at Kauffman Museum, call 316-283-1612.

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