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 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.