Lecompton The Territorial Capital Festival mixes new features with traditions in a town that has been throwing an annual festival since before the turn of the century.
A Lecompton summer classic has taken on a new name this year.
The Territorial Capital Festival, a renamed version of Territorial Days, kicks off Friday evening with carnival games and goes into full swing Saturday with a daylong schedule of events.
"We wanted to better get across that Lecompton was the territorial capital of Kansas," said Paul Bahnmaier, a member of the event planning committee, explaining the name change. "There can be a lot of Territorial Days, but there can only be one Territorial Capital Festival."
This year's celebration mixes new features with festival traditions in a town that has been throwing an annual festival since before the turn of the century.
Traditions include a parade, a softball tournament and an ice cream social.
Special features include the opening of the second-story exhibit gallery at Constitution Hall, one of 15 Kansas historic sites managed by the state historical society.
Exhibits include sketches of the gallery as it appeared in 1857 when territorial legislators signed a state constitution that would have brought Kansas into the union as a slave state.
Another special event is a recital featuring the Lecompton United Methodist Church's 108-year-old grand piano, which was refurbished last year.
A few blocks away, a wilder and woolier event will take place when re-enactors from Missouri and Kansas stage the Fort Titus battle.
The re-enactment, held every third year at the Lecompton festival, will feature about 50 people armed with black-powder firearms and a cannon.
"They'll be dressed in pre-Civil War period attire, and they dress right down to the first garment you put on," Bahnmaier said, chuckling.
The battle, fought in August 1856 in Lecompton, was a clash between free staters and pro-slavery forces over whether Kansas would adopt a pro-slavery constitution.
Lecompton is 10 miles northwest of Lawrence.
Following is a schedule of events. Unless otherwise noted, the events will take place along Elmore Street downtown.
- Carnival games, 7 p.m.-9 p.m.
- Pancake feed, 6:30 a.m.-11 a.m., community building.
- Softball tournament, horseshoe tournament, frog and turtle races, 8 a.m., various sites.
- Pioneer skills living history demonstration, featuring post-rock cutting, blacksmithing, wood carving, story-telling and 12 other activities. Daylong demonstration starts at 9 a.m.
- Constitution Hall exhibits demonstration, 10 a.m.
- Parade, 11 a.m.
- Lecompton United Methodist Church dinner, 11:30 a.m.
- Guided walking tour of Lecompton, noon, starting at Constitution Hall.
- Portrayal of Mamie Eisenhower by Kay Kuhlmann, 1 p.m., Territorial Capital Museum.
- Re-enactment of the pre-Civil War battle at Fort Titus, 2 p.m., southeast of the Territorial Capital Museum.
- Civil War fashion show, 3 p.m.
- Grand piano recital, 4 p.m., Lecompton United Methodist Church.
- Ice cream social, children's contests and games, 5 p.m.
- Talent show, 7 p.m.
- Awards ceremony, 8:30 p.m.
- Evening concert, 9 p.m.-midnight.
- Fort Titus battle re-enactment, 1:30 p.m.