By Frank J. Buchman
One of the most historic communities in the world plans a special celebration in recognition of its past this weekend.
“Washunga Days are planned at Council Grove on the old Santa Fe Trail, Friday through Sunday, June 17-19,” announced Lindsay Gant of the planning committee.
“It’ll be the 34th anniversary edition of the recognition of our community’s strong Kaw Nation heritage, the town’s prominence of importance on the old wagon train trail from Missouri, to New Mexico, and our additional 24 national historic landmarks,” Gant added.
Appropriately, Friday and Saturday evenings, June 17-18, will feature a Kaw Powwow. Elaine Huch, chair of the Kaw Nation, said, “‘Hawé.’ On behalf of the Kaw people, I would like to take this opportunity to invite you and your family to participate with us in this year’s Washunga Days festivities.”
Each year, Kaw citizens make the trip to Council Grove from their homes in Oklahoma and elsewhere to be a part of this celebration of the tribe’s historical heritage in the area.
“We come to honor the bond of goodwill that exists today between the tribe and the people of Council Grove. Generations of good people, native and non-native alike have endeavored to forge and continually strengthen this important cross-cultural relationship,” Huch explained.
“It is in the same spirit of goodwill and celebration that we also gather together for the annual Washunga Days Powwow from 6:30, to 10 o’clock, both evenings,” Huch said.
Again, this year’s Washunga Days Powwow will be in the dance arbor located at Allegawaho Memorial Heritage Park, about 3-1/2 miles southeast of Council Grove.
The area beneath the arbor is used for dancing and ceremonies and is called the arena. For the Kaw people, the arena is a sacred place.
“The ground has been blessed by the Kaw spiritual leaders. Photographs may be taken during the Powwow, but please ask permission before taking photos of individuals. Photos should never be taken during veterans’ songs, flag songs, prayers or any other time specified by the master of ceremonies. This is all part of our powwow etiquette,” Huch informed.
“This beautiful, lighted Native American dance venue features state-of-the-art sound technology, and is nestled in the scenic heart of the tribe’s park. Won’t you please join us? ‘Wíblahan,’” Huch welcomed.
According to Gant, Council Grove’s weekend Washunga Days events actually begin with a flea market, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club, all day Friday continuing through Sunday at the baseball fields.
“Kickoff and welcome” will be at the Riverwalk at 4:30, Friday, with food vendors, beer garden, carnival, inflatables and petting zoo during the evening.
The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) group has scheduled a 5 o’clock flag raising at the Madonna of the Trail.
Friday evening entertainment schedule on the Main Stage will kick off with the welcome at 5:15. Highlights include Clearview Band, 5:30; Bryton Stoll, 7:30; and Tim Strathman Band, 9:30.
The “TCT Run-Shunga 5K” is Saturday morning, June 18, at 8 o’clock, and the Washunga Days Parade, expected to attract hundreds of entries from afar, is down historic Council Grove’s Main Street, original Santa Fe Trail, at 10 o’clock.
Special attractions on tap Saturday include food vendors, vintage market, inflatables, petting zoo, camel rides, beer garden, face painting, car show, carnival, pin-up contest, and Kan-Ducky Derby.
A Kaw National Culture Demonstration is set for 2 o’clock at the Kaw Mission State Historic Site, which served as a school for Kaw youth in the 1800s, and now is a state-supported museum.
Entertainment on the Main Stage Saturday features: The Vogts Sisters, 11:30; Call It A Night, 1:30; The Coteries, 3:30; Lucas Maddy & The Kansas Cartel, 5:30; Ben Gallaher, 7:30; and Logan Mize, 10 o’clock.
Stage 2 attractions feature Flint Hills Discovery Center, 1 o’clock; Drum Safari, 2 o’clock; Flint Hills Gunslingers, 3 o’clock; and Magic By Pete, 5 o’clock.
Worship Service is Sunday morning, June 19, at the Riverwalk, beginning at 10 o’clock.
Afternoon features at the baseball fields include carnival attractions, 12-4; A League of Their Own, 1:30; and Vintage Baseball, 3 o’clock.
Complete information is available at www.washungadays.com, and on Facebook.