February 6, 2016

Annual Festival on the Trails celebration to kick-off downtown June 8

Local band, Family Bed, rocks the small stage during last year’s Festival on the Trails. This year’s concert headliner will be Tracy Lawrence, File photo

Local band, Family Bed, rocks the small stage during last year’s Festival on the Trails. This year’s concert headliner will be Tracy Lawrence, File photo

Danedri Thompson
Music, food, fun and community pride will land where the trails divide on June 8. The annual Festival on the Trails is set for Saturday, June 8.
The daylong event, first organized in 2007 for the city’s sesquicentennial celebration, will feature the combined efforts of community volunteers and local businesses. It’s the culmination of months of planning.
The festivities kick off at noon with several fun activities for children, including jewelry-making, face painting and temporary hair-coloring. Kids also can participate in hula-hoop races, mad science experiments, and strike a pose in a photo booth. Demonstrations by local groups will round out the entertainment.
In addition to the kid zone fun, safety will also be promoted. Gardner Police and Johnson County law enforcement will offer a kit for the state’s Child Identification Program, which parents can organize to help aid in the identity and recovering of missing children.
The kit allows parents to file with police a DNA swab, digital still photo and fingerprints of their children. The local Masons chapter is sponsoring the safety program at the Festival.
There’s fun for adults, too, like a car show, an arts and crafts show and food vendors.

The Festival’s kid zone returns this year. Festivities are set for June 8. File photo

The Festival’s kid zone returns this year. Festivities are set for June 8. File photo

The Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI) will sanction a Festival chili cook-off during the Festival. The competition is open to all for a small entry fee, and judges will sample chili in two divisions: CASI chili and home-style chili.
Check-in for contest entrants begins at 7:30 a.m. on Shawnee Street. Judging will begin at noon.
Meanwhile, guests can graze festival goodies while being entertained by a number of musical groups.
Tracy Lawrence headlines the evening concert. Lawrence is the artist of eight number one country songs including “Sticks and Stones,” “If the Good Die Young,” “Time Marches On,” and “Find out Who Your Friends Are.”
The Outlaw Junkies will open for Lawrence.  Seating for the concert is first-come, first-served in lawn chairs, so fans are encouraged to come early for best seats. Evening concerts will start sometime after 5 p.m.
Finally, distinguished Gardner residents will once again have the chance to get together and share their memories at the second annual Chatfest on the Trails.
Distinguished Gardner citizens who are at least 70 years of age and who have lived in Gardner Township or the USD 231 area for at least 45 years are invited to come to the Kramer Hall of the First Baptist Church between 2 and 4 p.m. to reminisce about their lives in the area and learn about Gardner history.
The Gamma Xi chapter of Beta Sigma Phi will supply refreshments, and the Gardner Historical Museum will be on hand to show video and images related to the city’s history.
The festival is fully funded by businesses and donations and staffed largely by volunteers. For more information on next weekend’s Festival on the Trails, including a schedule and full list of sponsors, visit www.festivalonthetrails.com.


  1. Lori Warren says:

    Thanks to all of the Gardner citizens that helped to make this years Festival on the Trails a success. We had a great time listening to the music by Tracy Lawrence and the Outlaw Junkies. But, I can’t help to post my disgust for the management of the beer garden. The tip jar for the servers was clearly marked “TIPS”. I gladly gave extra money to support the college kids that helped to serve the beverages. It was not until a day later did I find out that all of the proceeds, except $80 for each server went to benefit the festival. I would have gladly given money to support the festival, but there needs to be clearly marked jars noting where the money will be going.

    I would like everyone else that enjoyed a cold beverage to understand that all of their tip money did not go to the students that helped serve.

  2. Judith Rogers says:

    Well, Lori, sad to say, you had to learn the hard way………don’t ever think your Gardner City Government or your School Dist. will ever be forthcoming – their track records prove otherwise. You have to ask every question you can think of on any particular issue (and they will want to charge you for the information IF they choose to answer your questions) if you want to halfway protect yourself because they will only be telling you what they want you to hear and are very seldom, if ever, forthcoming – it is always about getting the “deal” done or getting approval for something. You can tell by my comments I have lost all trust in the connivers and that is just the way it is and they brought it on themselves.

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