Archive for Friday, June 8, 2001

Tonganoxie determined to celebrate

June 8, 2001


Storms are expected to clear out as the 16th Annual Tonganoxie Days fair rolls in today, but the town will celebrate rain or shine.

And that's no bluff. Residents held the festival last year in the wake of a devastating tornado that left Leavenworth County a state disaster area.

"If it does rain, we'll just go ahead," said Connie Torneden, event chair. "I'm always trying to be optimistic that it's going to clear off, and we've been pretty lucky in years past. It's one thing I can't control."

Torneden has been able to control just about everything else, steering the festival to success since it began 16 years ago. Today's barbecue cook-off and Saturday's family activities are expected to attract 3,500 people.

"Sixteen years ago, I was president of the Chamber of Commerce and (residents) came to me and said, 'Other towns have festivals celebrating their towns, why not have that for Tonganoxie?'" Torneden said. "It just kept going from there."

The free festival will feature downtown crafts and food vendors, live country music, 5K and 10K runs, a Cowtown Cloggers performance, pet parade, Demolition Derby and more.

A dance at the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds is the highlight for a lot of people, Torneden said.

Others will find their niche at the car show, at V.F.W. Park. Chip Marquardt, president of the Tonganoxie Country Cruisers, said he expects to showcase 125 cars. The oldest is an original 1918 Dodge Touring Car and the strangest is a 20-foot shopping cart equipped with a Chevy engine.

"We're just going to kick back and have a good time and look at hot rods," he said.

A free shuttle bus will transport people between downtown Tonganoxie, the fairgrounds and V.F.W. Park.

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