By Frank J. Buchman
“It’s been 100 years old since the barn was built, and now it’s as good as new, so we’re planning a big birthday bash in recognition and party.”
Lynn Smith, director of the historical Pioneer Bluffs classic early 1900s family farmstead, a National Register Historic District farmstead at Matfield Green in Chase County, didn’t say it exactly like way, but it sure best summarizes what’s happening.
“The eight annual Pioneer Bluffs Fall Festival Saturday, Oct. 3, is a centennial celebration as the historic Flint Hills ranch recognizes the 100th anniversary of an iconic barn with music, activities, and food for the whole family,” Smith did state.
“A well-known Flint Hills feature at the original Rogler family ranch, the barn at Pioneer Bluffs has recently undergone a transformation back to its 1915 appearance; and the festival will showcase the newly restored barn,” she added emphatically.
Saturday’s features kickoff at 2 o’clock, with the packed afternoon to include live music, a petting zoo, car and tractor shows, old-time games and drum play, horse-drawn carriage rides, a historic performance, silent auction, arts and crafts fair, caricatures, and much more for the entire family, Smith declared.
“The Bluestem Swingers will host a square dance in the cathedral-like loft of the barn. Steps and moves of today’s square dance have been updated, but visitors will enjoy watching or joining the dancers,” Smith invited.
At 4:45, there’ll be a first-person performance by Tom Thompson, Strong City, portraying Billy Morgan, the man who sold the Emporia Gazette to William Allen White. Thompson will share stories, of Morgan, the Rogler family, and J.H. Mercer, that have been discovered through research of 1915 newspapers.
This year’s music lineup:
* 2 o’clock, Gary Kirkland, who has been proclaimed “Kansas City’s gift to yodeling” by the Kansas City Star.
* 3 o’clock, The Vogts Sisters offer a graceful performance, blending timeless music with sweet sister harmony.
* 4 o’clock, Tiny Flowers plays an eclectic, acoustic mix of vintage Americana.
* 5 o’clock, Flint Hills Balladeer, Annie Wilson, will share the beauty of the Flint Hills in her original music with Carl Reed.
* 6 o’clock, Tom Page is joined by Dustin Arbuckle for a Tom Page Trio and Haymakers combo.
*7:30, The Skirts, all-female group, will perform bluegrass music with rock and pop influences.
A hog roast with locally grown produce will be served at 6 o’clock, and at dusk a fireworks extravaganza will conclude the festivities.
“All performers and volunteers contribute their time and talent to this event, which benefits Pioneer Bluffs. There is no charge for this community celebration, but contributions are greatly appreciated, and reservations for supper are requested so there’s enough to go around,” Smith said.
“Gone are the days when family life revolved around a country barn. But, that rural way of life, and its unique story, is preserved at Pioneer Bluffs, one mile north of Matfield Green, Kansas, or 15 miles south of Cottonwood Falls on Flint Hills National Scenic Byway K-177.
“This classic early 1900s family farmstead is today a nonprofit organization with a mission to respect the land, preserve history, and engage with community,” the director reminded.
“The Pioneer Bluffs Fall Festival is a celebration of community and local food. Don’t miss this party that happens once every 100 years,” Smith pointed out