Amelia Earhart Festival Brings Thousands to Atchison, KS

By Ronelle Williams |

Published 07/19 2014 07:40PM

Updated 07/19 2014 10:49PM

(ATCHISON, Ks.) The 18th annual Amelia Earhart Festival brought thousands of people to Atchison Saturday.  People played games, ate food and a learned a little bit of history.  The festival actually started as a celebration of Amelia Earhart's 100th birthday in 1997 and has grown since then.

"The first year it was a big celebration with really no intent of going forward.  But after the first one was so successful a group of people decided that it was something that we needed to perpetuate and we needed to do over and over again," said Earhart Festival Coordinator Jacque Pregont.

As one of the biggest weekends of the year in Atchison,  business was definitely up for some local companies.

"It's really good for our economy, we welcome a lot of visitors to the community and we're always hopeful that if they come once that they'll want to come back again," said Pregont.

A lot of families are now using the festival as a way to re-connect.  Which only helps it to continue growing.

"It's become kind of a homecoming weekend for a lot of people.  People who have kids that have moved out of town, grandkids, aunts, uncles, cousins.  A lot of people kind of do a family reunion around the weekend because it's a fun time and there's a lot of activities going on," said Pregont.

The start of the festival brought the start of something bigger for an Atchison resident.

"I actually had a wedding here in town when I got married it was the first year for the festival.  So we saw the fireworks after our wedding and now we come every year.  We come to watch the fireworks and come down to the mall and let the kids do all the activities down here," said Atchison resident Chad Folsom.

With all big events, parking is always a concern but the town worked hard so that it didn't have to be.  A free shuttle service ran during the evening hours of the festival.

"You know I think the town does a pretty good job to organize and act to get people to and from the river pretty safely," said Folsom.

Amelia Earhart's birthplace will continue to be remembered and celebrated for years to come.

"I think it's a signature for the city and I think it's just a feel good thing.  I think we're really fortunate that Amelia was born here, spent a lot of her childhood here, her birthplace is a museum.  So we didn't have to create anything, we're just celebrating something that's already here," said Pregont.

Festival organizers say each year they plan new events to bring people to the fair.

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