Organizers ready for Lansing DAZE
Lansing DAZE 2007 features a new date, a new venue and slimmed-down offerings, but it's still the same family-fun festival, organizers say.
The festival was moved from its traditional second weekend in June date to this weekend. Instead of most activities taking place on the grounds of City Hall and in the parking lot adjacent to The Overlook restaurant, festivities this year are scheduled to be in Towne Center and in the Rock Creek Medical Plaza parking lot.
The changes were prompted, in part, because of the closing of The Overlook in April.
Organizers, however, have worked around the changes and have a full slate of activities for the city's premiere festival.
"It was a lot of organizing on our part to move it up, but we're pretty excited about all the activities," said Shanae Randolph, the city's director of economic development/ Convention and Visitors Bureau.
This year marks the return of the festival being coupled with the city's Brew, Blues & Bar-B-Q Cook-off. This will be the third Brew, Blues & Bar-B-Q Cook-off. The first, in 2005, was conducted in conjunction with Lansing DAZE. A year ago, the contest was moved to the first weekend in May to all it to gain sanctioning from the Kansas City Barbecue Society. This year, it's back with Lansing DAZE.
"It was nice pooling the resources," Randolph said. "We always had Friday night band for Lansing DAZE, and we still do for the barbecue. On Saturday, we'll have the children's inflatable rides, the Kid Tent with children's performers, the petting zoo, face-painting and games, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m."
The barbecue contest, sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, has drawn 30 entrants, all of which will vie for $4,000 in cash and prizes and the chance to earn a coveted spot in the American Royal International Invitational, the granddaddy of barbecue competitions.
The competition gets going Friday when the barbecuers set up their massive smokers. The setup coincides with a concert by Kansas City blues band Lonesome Hank & the Heartaches, scheduled from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
On Saturday, 25 of the 30 cook-off entrants will submit barbecued pork butt for the popular "People's Choice" tasting. For a $5 donation, the public gets to sample as much of the barbecue as they prefer and then submit their vote for the best of the lot. The donations go to the Kansas Regional Prisons Museum.
Once the People's Choice entries are in, the barbecuers will focus on their entries for the regular competition. Judging begins at noon, with prizes being announced at a 3:30 p.m. ceremony.
Last year's overall champion, Jumpin Joe's Bar-B-Q, led by Leavenworth cook Joe Denny, will return to defend its title.
"I think he was one of the first to enter," Randolph said. "Wonderful Walts, the People's Choice winner, will be back. We have quite a few returners and quite a few first-timers, too."
The Lansing Historical Society and Lansing PRIDE will team together again this year for their annual Lansing DAZE quilt show. This year, the quilts will be on display at MidAmerican Bank.
"That's usually in the Lansing Community Center, but we didn't know we'd be needing it and it was booked for this weekend. But the people at MidAmerican have been gracious and are working with us and allowing Lansing Historical Society and Lansing PRIDE to have the quilts in their lobby," Randolph said.
The Lions Club's Mike Neve Memorial Car Show will draw show-quality automobiles from around the area. This year, the show will be Saturday in the lot of J and J Car Wash, at the southern edge of Towne Center.
The usual complement of vendors offering everything from crafts to food is lined up for Saturday. And the Mid American Trials Team will be showing off its motocross skills again.
Beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, a number of events earmarked for children begin. The Kansas Army National Guard will have its rock wall available for climbing. Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1 will have its smoke tunnel open. There'll be pony rides, inflatables and a petting zoo. The Kid Tent, sponsored by Lansing Community Library and Lansing Parks and Recreation, will be in operation from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with different activities, ranging from face-painting to a balloon artist to a magic show, scheduled on the hour.
At 4 p.m., activities in Towne Center will shut down and attention will shift to the Rock Creek Medical Plaza for a Street Dance from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. At dusk, the annual Lansing DAZE fireworks show will be staged, with viewing suggested from the Street Dance venue.
The moved-up date caused some traditional Lansing DAZE-related activities - notably the annual golf tournament, the Lansing Historical Society's 5K run and Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast - to not be a part of this year's festival. Instead, those events will remain on the second weekend of June this year.
"Those are advertised so far out, it's hard to change the date," Randolph said. "But we look forward to having everything together next year."