By Frank J. Buchman
Christmas is in the air all around, and no more than at Burlingame, Kansas.
“The Chamber of Commerce and all of the community have gone all out for our 26th annual Burlingame Country Christmas celebration titled the North Pole Fantasy,” according to Mark Hecht, Burlingame businessman and Chamber of Commerce official.
Featuring “food, entertainment and shopping,” there’ll be activities for all ages kicking off with the kids’ crafts fair from 10 o’clock, until noon, when Santa Claus arrives from the North Pole. The Jolly Ole Elf is planning to pose for photographs with the young ones, who’ll be whispering in his ear, what they expect him to bring on Christmas Eve.
Actually, the Great Plains Quilt Show, the Festival of Trees, wagon rides and the cooking and book sale at the library all begin at 10 o’clock, continuing into the afternoon, and early evening for certain attractions.
The Burlingame Country Christmas Vendor Fair opens at 11 o’clock, and will offer a wide assortment of the most unique Christmas specials offered by exhibitors from throughout the eastern part of the state. A silent auction of baskets as a fundraiser will be open for bidding during the fair, too.
Of course, the North Pole Fantasy will have everyone in a most holiday spirit throughout the day, but toes will officially start tapping up and down the Old Santa Fe Trail Main Street when the live music show begins at 2 o’clock, and will continue until parade lineup time at 5 o’clock.
Always the most anticipated feature of a Burlingame Country Christmas is the Parade of Lights, attracting the broadest and widest array of participants from near and far, beginning with strike up of the band at precisely 6 o’clock. Assuring one of the best and biggest parades in recent history is the cash prizes to be awarded the top three parade entries.
“All and all, it’ll be a full day for the Burlingame County Christmas, the North Pole Fantasy, so we hope everybody comes out for a most enjoyable time of food, entertainment and shopping,” Hecht expressed a special welcome.
With a population of about 1,000 residents, Burlingame, founded in 1854, is nestled in northern Osage County, the largest surviving city in the county. By 1869, Burlingame served as the first link for the Santa Fe Railway from Topeka, as the depot passengers connected with the Overland Stage on the Santa Fe Trail.
“As you pass through the underpass on the east edge of town, you have reached the first point where the Santa Fe Railway crosses the Santa Fe Trail,” Hecht pointed out.
Many visitors to our still prosperous rural community are unaware, but by the 1870s, the area was also thriving in the coal mining industry, Hecht noted, as well.