Gardner received this year’s Kansas Recreation and Park Association (KRPA) Innovative Recreation Program award for its Smoke on the Trails/Grand Slam Beer and Wine Festival held in September 2017. This annual KRPA award recognizes outstanding new or innovative programs that represent Kansas’ best in the Parks and Recreation field.
The award-winning, first-time event involved the combination of a barbecue competition and a beer and wine sampling social held on the same day within the same general location. The Smoke on the Trails competition was a Kansas City BBQ Society sanctioned event, drawing nearly 70 competitive teams. The Grand Slam Craft Beer & Wine Festival, held in the outfield of a Celebration Park baseball field, sold out to 850 attendees enjoying libations by several local breweries and wineries. This event within an event offered an evening out for adults, providing commemorative gifts, food truck service, live bands and more.
The Gardner Parks and Recreation Department accepted the innovative award for the city’s Smoke on the Trails/Grand Slam Craft Beer & Wine Festival at the KRPA Conference held in Wichita, Kan., on Jan. 25, 2018.