Hutchinson Much has changed in the 100 years since The Women's Christian Temperance Union first set up a booth at the Kansas State Fair, but the organization continues to preach its message that people should never use alcohol, tobacco or drugs.
Prohibition was in place in Kansas in 1913 when the state held its first official state fair and one of its vendors was the temperance union. Today, the fair offers a beer garden, and vendors can sell wine by the glass or bottle. But the temperance union's message has not changed, The Hutchinson News reported.
"Don't drink alcohol," said 90-year-old Glenna Dellenbach, the group's oldest active member.
The Women's Christian Temperance Union, which organized in 1874, led the drive to prohibit the use of alcohol across the country to "protect the home." It later added tobacco and drugs to its list of dangerous substances. Prohibition, a national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, was in place from 1920 to 1933.
"Men were going to work and earning money, then spending it all on alcohol," said Patricia Jackson, of Meade, who has been a member of the organization for eight years.
Kansas had statewide prohibition from 1881 to 1948, longer than any other state. The state prohibited on-premises liquor sales until 1987, and 19 of its 105 counties are "dry," meaning on-premises liquor sales are prohibited, but the sale of 3.2 percent beer is permitted. Another 65 counties are partially dry, allowing liquor by the drink at establishments with 30 percent food sales.
Dellenbach said she thinks the organization has helped keep Kansas more conservative on alcohol laws than most others states. Currently, the union has 125 members in Kansas but Dellenbach said there is renewed interest in the group's message. She and others in Meade County restarted a union group in March after a liquor store moved in.
Jackson also said she thought the group was making an impact again.
"I just hope we're getting the message across," Jackson said.