Historic event, hot air balloons highlight weekend


By The Telegram

By The Telegram

This weekend offers a variety of events around southwest Kansas, including the Southwest Kansas Riverless Festival and Balloon Classic, Scott City's annual Whimmydiddle Arts and Crafts Festival, and a historic event that history lovers won't want to miss.

The Southwest Kansas Riverless Festival and Balloon Classic is scheduled for Friday through Sunday at the Finney County Fairgrounds.

The first flight of the balloons will take place at 6:15 p.m. Friday, weather permitting.

Among Saturday's events are a 7 a.m. balloon launch, a sand volleyball tournament hosted by the Garden City Recreation Commission beginning at 9 a.m., hunting dog demonstrations, the second annual Garden City Gauntlet and an evening balloon launch/glow beginning at 8:30 p.m.

Registration for the Gauntlet Obstacle 5K run begins at noon, with the contest scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Participants will maneuver through tough terrain by climbing, jumping, crawling and running through a variety of obstacles.

The event begins and ends in the southeast parking lot of the Finney County Exhibition Building. The fee is $35 and includes a Gauntlet survivor T-shirt and a finisher's medal. Age groups are from 16 to 20, 21 to 30, 31 to 40, 41 to 50, 51 to 60, 61 to 70, 71 to 80 and 81 to 90.

Registration forms can be obtained online at http://beta.active.com/garden-city-ks/running/garden-city-gauntlet-obstacle-5k-2013 or at the GCRC, 310 N. Sixth St.

For more information, call Meghan McFee at 276-1200 or email megahn.mcfee@gardencityks.us.

Sunday also will feature several events at the Riverless Festival and Balloon Classic, beginning with a 7 a.m. balloon launch, weather permitting. For a full list of events, visit http://www.finneycountycvb.com.

Other weekend events include:

* Friday and Saturday will bring a historic event to Kansas as the Jerry Thomas Gallery and Collection/El Quartelejo Museum in Scott City will host the 135th Anniversary of the Battle of Punished Woman's Fork Symposium.

The events begin at 4 p.m. Friday, when Punished Woman's Fork will be dedicated as a National Historic site. The ceremony will be followed by native song and dance performances by the Northern Cheyenne and a cavalry exhibition by the 4th U.S. Calvary from El Reno, Okla., at Lake Scott State Park El Quartelejo Ruins Monument Site.

Saturday's symposium offers events at the gallery and museum beginning at 8 a.m. For more information and a full schedule of events, visit http://www.jerrythomasart.com/.

* Scott City also will play host to the annual Whimmydiddle Arts and Crafts Festival from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The annual festival, known for being one of the largest in western Kansas, will be held in Patton Park and will feature exhibitors from across the region and country.

Whimmydiddle began in 1972 and was taken over in 1979 by Alpha Omega, a chapter of Epsilon Sigma Alpha International. Proceeds from the fair are used to support charities throughout the year.

For more information, visit www. whimmydiddle.org.

* A free motorcycle safety training course will be provided Saturday by the Garden City Police Department.

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Law Enforcement Center, 304 N. Ninth St. The GCPD will cover such topics as professional riding techniques, motorcycle control and collision causation factors.

Beginner or experienced riders are encouraged to take the opportunity to learn how to become better, safer riders.

A helmet is required to be worn on the practice course. To register, contact the GCPD Traffic Unit at 276-1300.

* Lee Richardson Zoo will celebrate International Red Panda Day on Sunday with a variety of activities for children to turn them into "Red Panda Rangers."

The panda keeper will be sharing information from 1 to 4 p.m. at the red panda exhibits in Wild Asia, and kids can explore a biofact cart.

The zoo has two red panda cubs, Blaze and Hamlet, along with their mother, Ember, and also will be recognizing Firecracker, the oldest red panda in the North American breeding program.

* The Finney County Preservation Alliance will be giving Windsor Hotel tours on Saturday. The cost is $5 for adults and kids 12 and younger are free. These multilevel tours will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Monthly tours will continue the last Saturday of every month until Transportation Enhancement grant work precludes tours. For more information, call 275-4340.

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