Kansas Day 2023

Each year the Johnson County Library hosts a ‘Kansas Day’ event in January to celebrate the anniversary of Kansas’ statehood (January 29, 1861).  Pre-pandemic, the library would host two or three Kansas Day events throughout the month (spread across the Johnson County Library system).  For the last two years, the library hosted a Past is Prologue event (online) in lieu of a traditional in person celebration.  This made the January 21st Kansas Day all the more special.  That Saturday was a come-and-go celebration for the public, held at the Central Resource Library.  There was music, games, prizes, informational material, and of course cake.  Check out some of the highlights below. 

Let them eat cake

Photo courtesy Amanda Wahlmeier

Cake is a very important staple of the Kansas Day Celebrations at the Johnson County Public Library.  This year’s cake was a vanilla sheet cake proudly displaying the state flower in the middle.  Patrons loved indulging in a sweet treat – the dessert was demolished in two hours!  

Music and Merriment

Nearly 150 patrons attended Kansas Day 2023 at the Central Resource Library! Photo courtesy Johnson County Library

In previous years, the library has incorporated a speaker to come in and speak about a topic relevant to Kansas history.  This year, the library hosted two musician groups to entertain patrons in the Carmack Community Room.  Guitarist Matt Hopper kicked off the festivities and was followed by a quartet group led by bass player Jeff Harshbarger. 

Guitarist Matt Hopper entertains patrons and staff at the library. Photo courtesy Johnson County Library

The Carmack Community Room also hosted an array of coloring pages for all ages, courtesy of the Kansas State Historical Society.  In addition to cake, coloring has been a must-have at our Kansas Day celebrations.   Each page features a specific Kansas symbol – fun and educational! 

The Johnson County Library mission is to ‘provide access to ideas, information, experiences and materials that support and enrich people’s lives.  Book displays, postcards, and information packets have become another Kansas Day staple.  Located right outside of the Carmack Community Room, patrons could find a table filled with books (primarily non-fiction) centered on Kansas History.  Additional information was provided by the Johnson County Genealogical Society.  With spring on the horizon, information sheets on gardening and native Kansas plants were also distributed.   For more booklists and additional resources, visit the JoCo History profile page.    

Fun and Games for All Ages

The Johnson County Library always looks to promote learning through fun, hands-on experiences.  To that note, there were a variety of games and activities for the young and young at heart.  Patrons had the opportunity to try their hand at some Kansas trivia and see just how much they knew about their state.  Featured prizes included pens and notebooks – all participants were winners!  

Central’s newly renovated youth area featured even more games and fun times, starting with a scavenger hunt featuring some local symbols.  

One young Chief’s fan does her very best to find the capital of Kansas. Photo courtesy Johnson County Library

To play, each patron was given the opportunity to see Topeka on the on the large poster board map.  Patrons were then instructed to take a colored sticker, close their eyes and turn around three times (five times for grown ups!).  After that, patrons were told to keep their eyes as closed as possible and try to put the sticker as close to the capital as they could.   

The map featured other major Kansas cities as well as geographical points of interest. Photo courtesy Johnson County Library

There were nearly half a dozen other games for patrons to sample during the wintry Saturday.  Folks could choose from card games (Uno or traditional playing deck), checkers, chess, Jenga, Mancala, or dominos.

Photo courtesy Johnson County Library

We sure hope everyone had a wonderful time, and we can’t wait to see you all again next year.  

-Heather McCartin, Johnson County Library

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