By Denice Kuhns, Publisher, Meade County News
Under the direction of J. Basil Dannebohm, the Bake Off at High Noon was a huge success. The Dalton Gang Hideout was abuzz with activity from mid-morning until after 5 pm on Saturday, April 27th, with vendors, buyers and samplers.
The old time Main Street at the Hideout was the backdrop for day with everything from cheesecake to zwieback being available for tasting and purchase. Based on a vendors head count, an estimated 700 people attended the event, many of which spent the entire afternoon enjoying the festivities amongst the cottonwood trees.
“The entire event, from the music and melodrama, to the baking and generous donations, highlighted the great things about rural communities! It was such a great event that the community of Meade and all of Southwest Kansas should be proud of!” stated Simone Cahoj, Wichita County Economic Development Director and contestant.
The Friends of the Meade Library put a tremendous amount of labor into their booth, decorating it with black, red and white and making desserts with book themes, and it paid off. They not only made some extra money for the library, they spent the day promoting it to the local citizens and visitors.
“We really enjoyed the friendly competition and the opportunity to get out and support the community,” Meade Friends of the Library member Marshann Padgett stated. “This was an event that everyone could enjoy, something that families could do together. It is wonderful to be part of a group of people who believe in rural living…past, present, and future!”
The line at the Smoke Hoss ‘booth’ was constant and the smell of smoked brats, smoked meat and hamburgers enveloped the Hideout Park. Attendees were treated to great customer service and the local 4-H club and Boy Scout Troop quenched thirsts with sales of water and soda.
“It was great to be a part of such an awesome event. Seeing the community come together to support the Historical Society is what makes Meade County special,” Smoke Hoss owner JR Doney commented. “We’re already looking forward to next year’s “bake-off,” filled with even more food, music, fun, & fellowship!”
The crooning of Wes Passmore, Jeff Padgett, George Lucas and Larry Padgett entertained attendees throughout the afternoon with sounds of the old west. The kids inflatable fun zone, sponsored by the Fowler State Bank provided an endless supply of fun for kids of all ages. The two inflatables were broke into age groups, allowing the younger kids to enjoy one bouncy house with one being restricted to older kids.
As a judge of the event Kansas State Senator Garret Love enjoyed the day greeting and connecting with contestants. “It was a great day with amazing food, music and, most importantly, friends made for a fun environment that I enjoyed taking part in.”
Love was just one of a host of dignitaries from across Kansas who gave of their time to judge all the tantalizing treats. Local judges included author Liberty Valance, Mayor Richard Knott, Blake Carter, Buck Friesen, Janice Smith and Tom Kuhns.
State Representative of the 125th District Reid Petty noted, “I had a great time attending the bake-off and participating as a judge. Hopefully it will be the beginning of a new tradition in Meade that people can enjoy for years to come. I look forward to attending again in the future.”
Two local organizations benefited from the event: The Meade Chamber of Commerce and Meade County Historical Society.
The Kansas Sampler Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting and preserving rural Kansas, applauded the event, “Even though we weren’t able to attend the Bake Off, it clearly energized everyone involved. Whenever you have an event that showcases regional skills and brings together people of all ages, then you’ve got a winner. Meade, you found the winning recipe for a bonding event,” said Marci Penner, Executive Director.
At the end of the day Marshall Allen Bailey served as emcee of the awards ceremony. Dignitaries made the presentations of a $50 check, donated by Meade State Bank, and a rolling pin engraved by the Meade High School shop students.
State Representative Ron Ryckman summed the day up perfectly. “The Bake Off was wonderful and such a great way to showcase Meade. It was refreshing to see the community come together for what proved to be a first class event. All our guests from out of town were treated to quite an enjoyable day.”