The annual January lull affords families one of the year's prime opportunities to spend time together.
The sister publications the new "Kansas Event Guide" and the year-old "Kansas Weekend Guide" offer suggestions on what to do during all that togetherness within the four corners of the state.
The guides, written by Mil and Marci Penner, a father-daughter team, and published by their The Sounds of Kansas in Inman, list recurring annual events and interesting destinations within the Sunflower State.
Marci Penner said their goal was "to help increase the awareness of Kansans about places to see and things to do in the state."
They also host a Kansas Sampler Festival at their farm on the first Saturday in October to showcase "the amazing diversity, power and spirit of the state."
The month-by-month event guide also is indexed by city and types of event, including car shows, rodeos, ethnic events or food festivals.
PARTICULARLY timely are the Kansas Day Celebrations. None of them, however, fall on Kansas Day, which is Wednesday this year.
Celebrating the state's birthday with special events, according to the guide, is Longton in southeast Kansas, with a "grassroots Kansas Day" on Monday; Larned's Santa Fe Trail Center in southcentral Kansas, with Sunday plans; and Paola, south of Ottawa, which will celebrate the birthday Saturday with public activities in the high school gymnasium.
Another January listing is the Ball and Claw Antique Auction on Saturday in the old theater in downtown Oswego. It is billed as "the largest antique and collectible auction in a four-state area."
VARIOUS EAGLE watching opportunities also are listed for wintertime leisure, as well as team-penning competitions at the Valley Center Coliseum.
"January is a good month . . . to create your own special annual events," the guide notes, suggesting dinner at the Old Mill Restaurant in Newton or the Hays House in Council Grove, or a weekend get-away to The Barn in Valley Falls, tagged as "the ultimate bed-and-breakfast."
There also are suggestions for ways to spend a day in such cities as Leavenworth, Topeka, Abilene and Lindsborg as well as the lesser-known Columbus, Ashland and WaKeeney.
February kicks off with ground hog suppers in Inman and Deerfield, the Kansas Muzzle-Loaders' State Convention in central Kansas, and Leavenworth's Hidden Art Show, which features the work of federal and state prison inmates.
EVENTS LISTED for the Lawrence area throughout the year include the Celebration of Cultures and Kansas Relays in April, the swap meet for motor vehicle parts at the 4-H Fairgrounds in May, Kansas Fiddling and Picking Championships in August and Special Olympics Indoor Games in November.
For Baldwin, the Prairie Pioneer Dinner Train made an April listing because its season kicks off in spring and runs through fall. The Maple Leaf Festival turns up in October.
Lecompton's Territorial Days is included in June, as are Perry's sailboat regatta, the "Kansas City Cup," in July and a motorcycle rodeo in September.
Several Kansas City, Kan., area and Topeka events also are included.
Missing from the guide, though, are such established area events as DeSoto Days, Eudora's CPA Picnic, Linwood's Pioneer Festival, McLouth's Threshing Bee, Tonganoxie Days, Oskaloosa's Old Settler's Reunion and Wellsville Days.
THE COMPANION weekend guide focuses on places rather than events. It is organized by regions and indexed by attraction types, including bookstores, barns, bridges, caves, ghost towns, ranches, wildlife and wineries.
A series of color photographs near the front of the book whets readers' appetites for day trips criss-crossing the state.
The book's index could have been improved with a table telling what cities were included in each of the 18 regions into which the state is divided. Lawrence turns up in the Ottawa region along with Bonner Springs and Olathe.
The guide recognizes Lawrence for just three things: Allen Fieldhouse, the KU Hall of Fame and the Kaw River Trail along the river levee.
Both books are available in local book stores.