You can bring in the harvest in a multitude of ways, but Garden City’s Fall Fest this year might have taken the cake for western Kansas.
Fall Fest brought in more than 90 vendors, offering an assortment of cuisines and novelty items.
Thousands of people turned out for the festivities situated in and around Stevens Park and Main Street in downtown Garden City, feasting on a slew of delicacies ranging from German bierocks to hot Cheetos and melted cheese. There was a little something for everyone — even some of Garden City’s youngest residents.
Irene Hoheusle chowed down on a burrito as she watched a gaggle of her grandchildren indulging in the wonders of science. Garden City Community College had set up a stand to give kids the option to make their own slime, blow some seriously big bubbles or dip their toes and fingers in what was only referred to as “gloop.” The difference between gloop and slime remains mysterious.
The children belonged to Hoheusle's daughter, Nicole Dick, who was overseeing the stand manned by GCCC’s Math and Science Club.
The bubbles and gloop generated a great deal of enthusiasm for the two 2-year-olds, 5-year-old, 6-year-old and 7-year-old.
“The 2-year-old here loves the bubbles,” Hoheusle said. “She just keeps going back and forth. The other 2-year-old loves whatever that stuff is called… that slimy stuff. I have my 6-year-old and my 4-year-old and my 7-year-old making slime.”
Hoheusle said she and her family had just come from the Garden City Recreation Commission's "The Siege" obstacle course event near Garden City High School. She said her three adult daughters, including Dick, all turned out to represent and show their stuff before a day of easygoing fun.
“I used to live in Garden City years ago,” Hoheusle said, explaining that she now lives in Wichita. “Some of my children still live here, so I get to visit often, and I’ve got to say that I’m really impressed with the growth of Garden City. … With everything they’ve done here in the last few years, I’m sorry I moved away.”
The GCHS pole-vaulting team also showed up to wrangle support for their team and inspire the younger kids to get involved in the art of pole-vaulting when they come of age.
Saleen Wears, a member of the team, said the showcase of aerial skill is all for a good cause: to raise money for the pole-vaulting program and please the crowd.
“We usually get quite a crowd, and it’s really fun to have everybody cheering and clapping and supporting us,” Wears said.
Kaylee Bridges, another member of the team, was ecstatic when she tied her personal record of 9 feet, flipping gracefully over the crossbar after a few unsuccessful attempts.
She ran laps after making it over, hugging everyone in sight and struggling to clear the smile from her face. She said she hoped to make 9 feet, 6 inches by the end of the day.
Other charity showcases focused less on athletics and more on aesthetics.
Corey King, club manager of Kansas Kruisers car club, was overseeing a car show on Main Street that drew a slew of classic hot rods and other restored vehicles from around the region, the oldest of which was a blue 1950 Studebaker Champion.
King said all of the proceeds from entry fees and raffles go directly to charity. Last year, Meals on Wheels was a major recipient of the donations. This year, King said, the Kansas Honor Flight will factor largely into what is given back.
The youngest participant in the car show was King’s son, Tanner, a 14-year-old who featured a restored 1988 Chevrolet s10 that he found stripped down in a field outside of Holcomb.
Tanner said he started learning how to build cars when he was about 12. He began working on the s10 in April 2016 and said it took him about a year to finish.
“My dad, he taught me everything,” King said.
Contact Mark Minton at firstname.lastname@example.org