What ‘wonders’ do you see in your hometown?

July 18, 2011 by

Susie Haver and Tammy Britt brought their trademark energy and humor to the Nazareth Motherhouse Monday evening as they encouraged their audience to see rural Kansas through new eyes.

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Using the “Eight Elements of Rural Culture” developed by the Kansas Sampler Foundation, the co-directors of the Cloud County Convention and Tourism office walked through each of the elements and how you can find them everywhere – if you’re looking.

The free hourlong presentation was the sixth of eight monthly presentations scheduled for the 2011 Concordia Speakers Series.

The “Eight Elements” were developed by Marci Penner and her father Mil, who founded the Kansas Sampler Foundation in 1993. “They traveled around Kansas visiting small towns,” Haver explained, “and they were looking at these places with different eyes.”

What the Penners saw were eight features or aspects of community life that attract visitors. Those eight are:

  • Art
  • Architecture
  • Commerce
  • Cuisine
  • Customs
  • Geography
  • History
  • People

Some elements – like the architecture and history of the Nazareth Convent — are easy to identify, Haver and Britt said. But it might be harder to identify the wonder of a local custom — like ordering a soda fountain drink at the Hodge Podge in Glasco. (That’s one of just 38 operating soda fountains in Kansas, Haver noted.)

The duo also offered some examples of their favorite places throughout the county: Dean Holbert’s general store on Highway 9 toward Beloit, Grassland Gardens in Miltonvale, Bob’s Toy Barn in Clyde, the stone arch bridge at Rice and the National Orphan Train Museum.

“Think about those places in terms of the eight elements and you starting seeing them differently,” Haver said. “The elements have really made a huge difference.”

So, too, have the energy and enthusiasm Haver and Britt brings to the tours they offer throughout Cloud County. Unlike most tourism officials, they serve as tour guides to accompany and assist large groups visiting the area.

They are also instrumental in organizing some community events, including the upcoming KS150 Quilt Fest planned for October. Information about their efforts is available at the Convention and Tourism office at 130 E. Sixth St., Concordia, and online at www.cloudcountytourism.com.

The 2011 Concordia Speakers Series is an outgrowth of the Community Needs Forums that were held throughout 2009 and 2010 and hosted by the Sisters of St. Joseph. More than 100 individuals and representatives of local organizations and agencies took part in those “working lunches” to identify concerns in Concordia and Cloud County, and then work toward solutions.

The two final speakers in the series are Concordia City Manager Larry Uri on Sept. 26 and Cameron Thurner, an outreach specialist for the Domestic Violence Association of Central Kansas, on Oct. 24.

Comments

One Response to “What ‘wonders’ do you see in your hometown?”

  1. Loretta Jasper on July 20th, 2011 4:58 pm

    I do hope the couple who is considering moving to Concordia from eastern CO. reads this.

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