By: Miriam S. Buckley
The plight of small towns in Kansas is an issue that appears in newspapers and on TV regularly in our state. The city of Luray, is one rural town that has faced hardship due to grocery stores, businesses, schools, and restaurants closing down. Today, the Luray Main Street only has a couple of businesses that operate on a daily basis. Yet, the towns people of Luray are determined to do something to change the uncertain future of this once thriving town, and try to improve the imminent fate of their small town.
A group of Luray citizens have come together with community leaders and building owners to organize one of the largest arts, crafts, and antique shows in the state of Kansas. Last year, this small town hosted the first ever Luray Craft Fair, and had about 40 vendors register for the event. With the enormous success of the 2016 event, the event hosts decided to reach out to even more vendors to see if they could make the event grow.
This October 21st, the town of Luray will host their now annual Luray Craftique, and they are expecting more than 160 vendors to attend. Although there are a few events in Kansas that boast a large amount of vendors, this is one of the only ones in Kansas that is almost entirely indoors! With the closure of many of the shops and stores, the store owners have partnered together to offer their shops for the upcoming vendor event. Thus, the Luray Craftique will have over 100 indoor vendors in six buildings, all of which are within walking distance of Luray Main Street. There will also be a plethora of outdoor vendors and food trucks in attendance.
In addition to the normal arts and craft vendors, this year the Luray Craftique has also had the incredible fortune to be able to partner with the Vesper Vintage event. The Vesper event experienced a loss of venue for their antique market, and instead of closing, they are just moving over to the city of Luray for that day. With the addition of the antique shoppers, the Luray Craftique sponsors are hoping to draw a wide variety of attendees and to draw new business to the city of Luray.
Though a craft fair may seem like an unusual way to grow a town, the city of Luray is hoping that this year’s event will help to put them on the map and help small business owners see that Luray is a great place to live and work. The city of Luray also boasts free land for people who are willing to relocate to Luray and start a business. Will these incentives help boost a town close to failure? Only time will tell if their fortune will change.
Luray is a small community located about 1 hour from both Hays and Salina, and about 25 miles north of Russell. If you would like more information about how you could be a vendor/guest at the Luray Craftique or help the town of Luray, please email the event hosts at [email protected]