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Sample the simply spectacular Sunflower State

By Susen Foster

Ever sat through home movies of a friend's vacation while they narrated the entire visit in a voice that made your eyes droop from the sheer monotony?

Under other circumstances you would have been transfixed because you always wondered what was beyond the fences.

Life is always best experienced when the presentation is spellbinding and this approach has been perfected by the Kansas Sampler Foundation as they nourish the dream of Mil Penner and his daughter Marci--creating an enticing two-day event showcasing the best, most unique, and friendliest places the Sunflower State has to offer.

As much a myth-busting event as an introduction to the multitude of things to see and do in Kansas, the Kansas Sampler Festival strives successfully to bring to life all that makes Kansas worth considering as a vacation destination.

Sure, there is some flat, dry land in the west and crowded cities in the east, but each climate and topographic change (of which there are many in Kansas) has been the catalyst for regional oddities, "must sees," and scenic beauty.

Like a handmade quilt, each square within the pattern has a special place and purpose; and since others have already done the ground work, the Kansas Sampler Festival is a ready-made quilt of many colors, interests, and locales from every nook and cranny within the state.

In order to share easy proximity to this renowned annual event, its location is re-established every two years. Liberal, located in southwest Kansas at the junction of Highways 83 and 54 not far from the Oklahoma border, is the privileged host for the 2012 and 2013 events.

The 23rd annual Kansas Sampler Festival will be held May 5 and 6 in Liberal's Light Park. More than 130 cities from across the state will enthusiastically share their precious piece of Kansas, and the festival grounds will come alive with Kansas artists, food vendors, historic purveyors and performers, musicians, and entrepreneurs. It is the place to make one-on-one contacts for future vacation and event planning.

Sally Fuller, director of the Liberal Convention & Visitors Bureau, is the liaison with the festival committee and will oversee the logistics of the event, which will take about 200 volunteers and is likely to bring over 8,000 guests to the city.

From the very beginning, the Kansas Sampler Festival has been a family-friendly event and during its 23 years has continued that commitment.

No matter where you hail from--be it nearby Colby or far-off Lawrence, Dodge City or somewhere in Oklahoma, Texas, or Colorado--the 23rd Annual Kansas Sampler Festival will leave you with a very special gift: a little piece of the state's heart and a true sampling of all it has to offer.

For more information call the Liberal Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-Liberal or check out and

Editor's note: Susen Foster is the owner of Pecan Cottage Bed & Breakfast in Pauls Valley, Okla. She is the author of numerous travel books. Susen can be reached at or call 580-622-5408.


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