Norton, Kansas April 18, 2022–The City of Norton and Norton County will be celebrating their 150th Anniversary with a full schedule of events beginning on June 25th with ‘The Great Escape’ 5K Run/Walk held annually at the Norton Correctional Facility and ending on July 30th with a dedication of the new Community Owned Visitor Information Center Kiosk at Station 15 Park. The entire month of July is packed full of exciting projects, special events, and well-known speakers that will make this celebration truly memorable. Twenty-two local organizations have already joined in on the planning efforts since August 1st, 2021. Here are their contributions to our activities so far!
Norton Correctional Facility will launch our celebration on Saturday June 25th with ‘The Great Escape’ annual 5K walk/run! It is hosted on the beautiful scenic trails around the correctional facility and will feature some historic information along the way that pays tribute to the long history of this Norton iconic property and grounds.
The Historic Heaton Building will be a centerpiece of cultural activities including a month-long Photo Gallery display supplied by the Norton County Historical Society and Museum. Step back in history as you view this masterful exhibit which highlights life in Norton County over the last 150 years through the fine art of photography. Don’t forget to visit the Museum which has been housed in Norton’s original Public Library since 1992. https://nortoncohistoricalmuseum.org/ Also on display from July 1-17, will be Signature Quilts from a collection being presented by Stitch Up a Storm, our local quilting and sewing supply store. Signature quilts became a popular tradition in the mid 1800’s. These quilts were treasured by their owners, and many were gifted to individuals who moved across the country as a special remembrance to the communities they left.
All month long listen to KQNK and play along with their Radio BINGO to win prizes and be a part of their lively interaction with our local residents and community participants from July 8th – July 29th..
Ag Valley Cooperative presents the 4th of July Weekend Parade to be held on Saturday, July 2nd at 10:00am. Get ready for the WOW factor as we invite all our Norton County communities and surrounding areas to participate. Commissioner and Chamber Ambassador Marvin Matchett is leading the planning committee in this important tribute to our Sesquicentennial celebration. We are honoring Lenora resident Pauline Goekin, (who is our oldest county resident) and who, at 106 years old, will be our Grand Marshall riding in the beautiful horse drawn carriage driven by coachman Dave Donovan.
Right after the parade head on down State Street to the Railroad Tracks for a sight to see – a HOBO Camp Tour commemorating the days of Railroad history and hobo travel along their lines in Norton.
Saturday July 2nd will continue the celebration after the parade with a Nortonopoly LIVE! Gaming competition at the Heaton Building starting at 11:00am sponsored by the Norton County Community Foundation. At 1:00pm don’t miss journalist and historian Deb Goodrich and her lively presentation
downstairs. She will also give a brief introduction to the award-winning Movie ‘Home on the Range’
which will be featured at our Historic Norton Theatre at 2:30pm sponsored by Sleep Inn & Suites. Events at the Norton County Courthouse Square include Norton County Genealogy Society who has published the first volume of Family Stories Norton County Kansas 1872-2022! It is available for $45 and will be on sale at the Courthouse square, so look for their table and support this incredible work. The
dedication of our 2nd phase of the Courthouse Heritage Walk will take place, along with a tree dedication to celebrate our Tree City USA status. Enjoy local vendors, fundraisers, crafts, and games as you plan your afternoon filled with fun. Don’t forget to get your Sesquicentennial T-Shirt, Pin, and frisbee, too! If you’re wondering what to do for the evening, the Living History Museum will have an informative Cemetery Walk activity from 7pm until dusk.
Norton Area Chamber of Commerce carries the celebration torch to Prairie Dog State Park on Sunday, July 3rd, with a Small-Town big style BBQ, Watermelon Feed by Jamboree Foods, Desserts by Moms4Kids, and games sponsored by the Norton Recreation Center. Enjoy Mule Wagon Rides around the park. Tour the historic Adobe Home and Hillman School while participating in Norton Living History Museum’s Primitive Games from 6:30-8:30pm.
Don’t forget the Sesquicentennial and Independence Day FIREWORKS over the lake sponsored by New Age Industrial Corporation, Inc. Sunday evening. The stars will shine bright! Norton Rec Center is paying for the State Park Day Pass for the first 50 cars into the park! Come early and bring your coolers, chairs and blankets to enjoy the festivities in outdoor comfort. Monday, July 4th we leave open as a local family day! Enjoy celebrating America’s Independence Day with plans all your own.
Norton Living History Museum will have readings every Tuesday and Thursday from July 5-21st. They will be reading ‘Once Upon a Summer’ by Jannette Oak about prairie life and a young boy coming of age. It is family friendly. Also participate in their Sunday, July 24th Day of Demonstrations where you can learn how to make butter, crafts, wash clothes using washboards, and learn other Prairie living history activities. The Museum will also have a special Tribal display. They also hope to be working with the Buffalo Soldiers. (TBD). This will be on Sunday July 24th, the same day as the Demonstrations. Check the website for times and links. Contact Heather Collins for details at 785-821-5114.
Friday Night Party in the Park starts at 5PM on July 8th in Washington Street Park. Check out the Street Burn Out at 6pm sponsored by Keiswetter Tire, followed by a Street Dance with music by Jimmy Dee and the Fabulous Destinations. July 9th kicks off the 19th continuous Norton Car Show around the Norton County Courthouse. With over 100 classic cars, trucks, motorcycles, and tractors you won’t want to miss this event favorite. Music by Studio J LLC and awards sponsored by Valley Hope of Norton. At 2pm head to the Norton Airport for the Drag Races! A full day filled with vendors, non-profit fundraisers, great food and music. It doesn’t get any cooler than that on a hot day!
CRAZY DAYS in Norton are back! Saturday July 16th is a city-wide CRAZY experience downtown and along the U.S. Hwy 36 business district. We have games, movies, cornhole tournaments, food vendors, an Escape Room experience, inflatables for kids, Mule Wagon Rides, local fundraisers that involve interactive family activities or scrumptious food! This is a SUPER Retail event, with many of our shop owners dressing up in pioneer clothes and sharing the history of their location, family or other fun tidbits. Take advantage of shopping local with CRAZY DAYS SALES!
Norton County Arts Council hosted the Sesquicentennial Logo Art Competition which was won by Jake VanSkike who is from Norton. They have also partnered with Humanities Kansas’s Movement of Ideas Speakers Bureau to bring a presentation and discussion by Jim Hoy to Norton. Members of the
community are invited to attend this free program entitled: “Kansas Legends and Folktales” to be held on July 23rd, 2022 at 2:00pm at the Historic Heaton Building. For more information contact Caryl Hale at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 785-877-0810.
July is also a busy month for many other activities for the Norton County Horse Council including their Roping Series (July 9th ), 4-H Norton County Horse Council Open Show on the 16th, 4-H/FFA Fair displays beginning on the 19th, Carp Derby at Prairie Dog State Park on Saturday July 23rd, Norton County Fair continuing from July 25-30th, and the Norton Home Owned Carnival from July 26th – July 30th. With so much going on, make Norton your destination in July and celebrate a community strong in culture, rural agriculture, and families growing the next generation of community leaders.
“Live, learn, and love life in Norton County”, commented Donna Liddle, Chamber & Tourism CEO.
For Parade Applications, Vendor Applications, or an Event Planning Form, please visit the Norton Area Chamber of Commerce at 205 S State Street, Norton, KS 67654 or call 785-877-2501 or visit our website at www.DiscoverNorton.com and click on our Celebration LOGO to take you to our Official Sesquicentennial Celebration web page.