By Frank J. Buchman
Yep, there’ll be the best meatloaf in the country.
And, a whole lot more, too.
“We have the meatloaf contest as the special attraction, but a fully packed daylong slate of additional activities are planned for our seventh annual Paxico Meatloaf Festival Saturday, June 27, at Paxico, right off Highway I70, Ext 333, east of Topeka,” announced Larry Winkler, official of the Paxico Merchants Association.
Appropriate it seems to brief what the headline competitions are all about. Well, the meatloaves must be ready to serve when entered at 9:30, Saturday morning, in Woodman Hall.
“The entries will all be displayed following the official judging at 10:30. People’s Choice public voting begins immediately following the official judging and will end at 2 o’clock.
Meatloaf entries are to be formally evaluated on appearance, texture and of course taste, with no dipping sauces allowed.
“Champions are to be announced at 3 o’clock,” related Winkler, who verified that all of the contests’ rules and regulations can be found on the Paxico website.
Actually one of the biggest highlights of this year’s festival is the Outdoor Flea Market, according to Winkler. Vendors of a wide array of unique merchandise will have their displays set up throughout the day, starting with kickoff at 9 o’clock.
“The Paxico shops also open their doors at 9, and will be open throughout the day. Antique appraisals are also planned,” Winkler emphasized. “The appraiser is a nationally-known antique official and will offer well-researched appraisals for a fee of $25 for up to three items.
Parade entries are asked to line up at the City Park at 9:30, with starting time being 10 o’clock, when the anticipated-procession heads west to Newbury Avenue.
“The Big Red One First Division from Fort Riley will be participating in the parade with their band, and mounted color guard,” verified Winkler, who invited entries of all types to come participate in the parade.
Early additional parade features, he pointed out, are to be an entry by the Sisters on the Fly, a ladies camping group, the Paxico Community Vintage Tractor Club, a Corvette Club, a nationally-recognized drumline and several horses and riders. Highlight of the parade is the Meatloaf Royalty, last year’s Meatloaf Contest winner, riding in a horse and carriage.
The Cruzline precision drummers are to present a street performance immediately following the parade, and the Fort Riley Band will also play a variety of music.
Vintage tractors along with antique and custom cars will be lined up for display throughout the afternoon, and a historical re-enactor is set to educationally entertain. Fort Riley is also providing several pieces of military equipment with personnel available to meet with the public.
Good eating will be offered by the local establishment, and a number of street food vendors The street vendors plan to offer meatloaf dinners, each a little different, on their menus.
Kid’s activities are from 11 o’clock, until 4 in the afternoon, with a trackless train, carriage rides, face painting and various games on schedule. Activities are to end with a free live music concert from 4 o’clock, to 6, featuring the Good Sam Band, which plays old-time rock and roll, blues and country.
“Whew,” evaluated Winkler.
“It’ll be a full day of good eating,’ and every type of fun for everybody of all ages. See you at the seventh annual Paxico Meatloaf Festival, June 27,” he welcomed.
Complete line-up is at www.paxicomerchants.com.
“Located at the foot of the Flint Hills of Kansas, Paxico’s history actually begins with Newbury township, which is located just outside the city limits. The Santa Fe Railroad was selling Pottawatomie Reserve land at $5 an acre and up,” Winkler said.
In 1869, four industrious Germans purchased acreage to lay out the township of Newbury. Eventually, the community grew to about a dozen houses and various businesses including a drug store, variety store and lumber yard.
Meanwhile, William and Robert Strowig in 1879 constructed a mill on land purchased from an old Indian medicine man called Pashqua. After a store and post office were established near the bustling mill, this site, about a mile from Newbury, came to be known as “Paxico,” after the medicine man.
“You can still see Pashqua’s profile today on many Paxico-branded items,” Winkler noted.
“The mid-1880s witnessed a struggle between the communities of Paxico and Newbury to woo the Rock Island railroad. Paxico eventually prevailed, and the old depot can still be seen at the Mill Creek Campgrounds site. The town was officially laid out in 1886 and promoted by a Topeka concern,” Winkler informed..
“In the quiet Newbury township, now you’ll find the historic Sacred Heart Catholic Church, known as the ‘Cathedral of the Flint Hills,’ nestled among country homes and farmsteads. The stately twin spires can be seen for miles around,” Winkler said.
“Today in downtown Paxico, many historic Victorian-era buildings still stand, and the
familiar whistle of the iron horses can still be heard. You’ll find collectibles, gifts, antique stoves and early Americana.
“Paxico also features an art studio, pottery shop, campground and RV park and winery gift shop. On peaceful Mill Creek, visitors enjoy fishing, canoeing and taking in the
local wildlife. And, the Mill Creek-Skyline Scenic Drive takes you through the
rolling prairies and farmlands of the beautiful Flint Hills,” Winkler invited.