Topeka’s Annual Events
There’s always lots to do in Topeka, but it’s worth checking if your visit coincides with any of the regular events that take place in the city throughout the year, as you may be coming just at the right time to see something you’ll really love.
Washburn University plays host to a number of enriching events. As mentioned on our page on Topeka’s cultural attractions they have a wonderful museum of art that you should drop in on, but in addition, they also put on a couple of arts festivals. There’s the Kansas Silent Film Festival which takes place at the end of February, where you can see classics of the genre accompanied by a soundtrack provided by a live orchestra in the White Concert Hall on campus.
In the first half of June that same venue sees The Sunflower Music Festival get underway. This consists of a series of chamber music evenings, concerts, talks, events and other educational activities. It attracts some world class musicians too, so whether you’re a classical aficionado or would simply enjoy seeing some beautiful pieces expertly performed, this is worth looking into. It runs for two weeks and all concerts are free to view.
Finally, Washburn campus is home to the Mulvane Mountains/Plains Art Fair. This also falls in June, usually the first week of the month. It features pieces by a wide range of artists and there are also a number of hands on activities you can get involved with, as well as live music.
If you want more in the way of music then The Spirit of Kansas Blues Festival, which takes place at the lovely Lake Shawnee (see our page on Topeka’s natural attractions for more on this location) could be the one for you. There are live performances from musician’s from all over the country as well as food and crafts to enjoy. The date should be easy enough to remember too, as the event takes place on the 4th of July.
If you want to experience some of the different influences on Topeka’s culture then you might look at paying a visit to the Fiesta Mexicana, which celebrates Mexican food, music, dancing and traditions. It takes place in the Oakland neighbourhood in July. Alternatively there is the Inter Tribal Pow Wow which is hosted every year at lake Shawnee. Again, there is food, dancing and all sorts of traditional activities to look into – a must if you’re interested in the region’s Native American history.
There’s even more history on offer in October in the form of the Apple Festival. This takes place in the first weekend in October in Old Prairie Town (a location we talk more about on our page on historical attractions), where you can see live historical enactments of the pioneer lifestyle. As the name suggests, a certain fruit is also big on the agenda and you’ll be able to sample pretty much any sort of apple related dish that you can imagine.
If you have younger children (under ten) with you and you’re around in the spring, then Old Prairie Town has another event you should be certain to check out, the wonderfully named Kid’s Stampede. There’s all sorts on offer and you can expect to see storytellers, balloon artists, puppet theatre, music and a variety of other performances and activities. It’s on the Saturday of the Memorial Day weekend, which falls at the end of May.
Image courtesy of Marion Doss