Jump to Navigation

Kansas Kaleidoscope - April/May 2004

A fun magazine for kids!

Kansas Kaleidoscope, April/May 2004

Fair, Fun, Fantastic!

Teacher Supplement for this issue

Kansas Fairs-Your Ticket to Fun & History!

Summer is coming and so are the fairs! Every year, since Kansas was only a territory, Kansans young and old have enjoyed going to the fair.

For Parents and Teachers:

Learning Kansas history doesn't have to stop when students leave school in May. A trip to the fair is a great way to experience Kansas' agricultural heritage. Once the principle occupation of Kansans, today's technological advances have resulted in bigger farms and fewer farmers. Fairs provide "city kids" an opportunity to encounter and appreciate farm fundamentals while enjoying the sites and thrills of a carnival. Find the dates for your county's fair by visiting the Kansas State Fair website at www.kansasstatefair.com. The state fair in Hutchinson will be held from September 10 - 19, 2004.


Fair foodYoungsters in 1950 liked cotton candy at the fair as much as we do today. Originally called fairy floss, cotton candy was invented in the U.S. and first patented in 1899.


After long, hot hours gathering the summer harvest, farm families looked forward to fall and the fair. September and October was county fair time in Kansas in the late 1800s. With cooler weather and the hardest work done, farmers could show off their best produce and relax with friends.


Every fair proudly exhibits the best of harvest. The fruits, vegetables, and grains are often arranged in artful displays like this one at the state fair.

Kids Show What They Know & Grow!

Fairs showed that farming wasn't just for grown-ups. In the late 1890s and into the early 1900s, 4-H programs began throughout the country. They were developed to teach young people about agriculture.

Cowley County Fair posterA Fair Competition

Contests provided friendly competition and entertainment. They were good chances for neighbors to show off certain farm skills.


Jerry Wohletz of Lawrence has entered 4-H projects at the fair since he was nine years old. "It's fun being judged, and the fair is lots of fun. I enjoy the competition!" he said.


Quiz kids about their favorite part of the fair and you'll probably hear, "The rides!" About 350 million Americans visit a carnival each year. That makes these rides among the most popular forms of family entertainment.

Reinventing the Wheel

The tallest ride on the midway (the area where fair rides and games are found) is usually the Ferris wheel. This fair favorite is named for George Ferris, its inventor.

Coast and Roll!

The first roller coaster in the U.S. opened at Coney Island, New York, in the summer of 1884. Built by L.A. Thompson, the ride was patented as a "Roller Coasting Structure" in 1885.

Going For a Spin

Europeans invented the carousel, but the ride became popular in America in the 1900s. A carousel ride in Hutchinson fascinated farmer Charles Brodbeck in 1901.


Nearly 500 carnivals travel around the United States every year. Most are family-owned businesses. Some have been in the same family for two or three generations. Families travel together during carnival season, from early April to late October.


Fair carnival gamesAlong with the thrill of fast rides, carnivals brought games of risk and chance. Dazzling prizes tempted people to play-even during times when money was scarce. For pocket change, a boy might pitch a winning throw and knock over a tower of milk bottles.

Glass With Class

Carnival glass is an expensive collectors' item today but 70 years ago, it cost only pennies! Carnivals offered these glass dishes as prizes during the Great Depression. This was a time during the 1930s when farming was poor, jobs were hard to find, and people didn't have much money.


As if the farm exhibits, contests, rides, and games weren't enough excitement, Kansas fairs included live shows. County fairgrounds often had racetracks or arenas with stages.

September in Hutchinson-ALL'S FAIR!

In 1903, the state legislature chose Hutchinson as the site of the Kansas State Fair. Before then, other towns had hosted statewide fairs including Leavenworth, Lawrence, Fort Scott, and Topeka.

In This Issue:

  • Timeline
  • Kaleidoscope Challenge
  • History Lab
  • Visit History
  • Word Search: East-to-Eat Treats
  • Book Nook
  • Bee a Winner!


Teacher Supplement