Wamego Tupil Festival

(Frank) And here we are again. (Deb) Tip toeing through the tulips. (Frank) I was just going to do that, “Tip toe through the tulips!” (Deb) Michael’s too young to remember that. Tiny Tim. Remember when Tiny Tim got married on Johnny Carson? (Frank) Yes. (Deb) That’s really dating us. I was five, I don’t know. Maybe two. Maybe I was just two years old. But I remember it when he got married on the show. (Frank) I think I’d just been born. (Deb) Yes, exactly. It was a long time ago. (Frank) Yes, well then of course here in Topeka you can tip toe through the tulips because it is Tulip Time. It’s going on and that’s at Ward Meade and of course up on Elevation Drive and let’s see in Gage Park, there’s a new tulip garden there now. And so it’s really a great thing. This is something that really Gerald Binkley kind of started at his home up on Elevation Lane. He had literally thousands of tulips that he planted and they would come up and people went up there. It’s now expanded because now it’s out at Ted Ensley Gardens at Lake Shawnee which Gerald of course, also had a great deal to do with getting that developed and all that. (Deb) Amazing man. (Frank) And I think this Spring is a little more conducive to the tulips staying around a little while because I know a few years, the tulips would come and it’d be, ah great and then it would be 85 degrees for four or five days and the tulips would go, we’re done now! (Deb) Yes, true. (Frank) Hopefully this year, the tulips will survive a little better and you’re going to be able to really, really see some nice stuff. Yes, there is an admission charge; it’s like $5 dollars. But what it does is that buys more tulip bulbs and it helps maintain the gardens. (Deb) Right. Yes, keeps everything going. (Frank) Well worth it. (Deb) And Botanica down at Wichita they’ve got tulips too and all over Wichita. So, wherever you are look for the tulips in bloom because there’s a lot of places, if you’re not here in Topeka we’d love for you to come see us, but if you’re not in Topeka, there are a lot of places to go and of course, there is Wamego this weekend. (Frank) Oh yes, yes, we can’t forget, I mean here we go Dutch bulbs in Wamego. (Deb) That’s right. Dutch bulbs. (Frank) So tip toe through the tulips. (Deb) Take your ukulele. (Frank) The discovery of gold near Denver brought many through Wamego on the Smoky Hill Trail in the mid 1800s. In 1863, the Kansas Pacific Railroad began building the main line for passengers and freight bound westward across the plains. Seizing this opportunity, The Wamego Town Company founded and laid out a new town site – Wamego – along the proposed rail in 1866, 150 years ago. Wamego’s annual tulip festival starts 150 days of celebration for the “small town with a big experience.” Chamber director Megan Umscheid said events through September will highlight the town’s history. The city park has been the center of the community for decades and the windmill has been its focal point. Constructed by a Dutch settler, the mill was dismantled and hauled by 35 horses to the park. The mill, in turn, inspired the planting of tulips and when organizers were wanting to start an arts and crafts fair nearly 30 years ago, they were inspired to take advantage of the park’s scenery and the Tulip Festival was born. And has it blossomed! A juried show, more than 130 vendors come from throughout the Midwest to share their wares. There is as much to buy as there are tulips! Food vendors include items from The Land of Kansas. The park is so much more than a grassy space. With the mill, other historic buildings, including the museum, and the Children’s Train, the park is a real destination. The Children’s Train is another tradition that was saved by the community when it needed to be rehabbed and operates free-of-charge from Mid-April through Mid-October. Join Wamego in celebrating 150 years of an Oz-some community at the Tulip Festival or other events throughout the year. Check out their website and Facebook pages for schedules.