Today is the 117th anniversary of Amelia Earhart's birth.
Amelia Earhart, famed aviator, is Little Sis's hero. My someday artist-ballerina-pilot (-comedian-magician-science teacher-whatever hyphenate she adds that day) loves all things Amelia. She has a doll. She has a cheap dress-up aviator hat and scarf. She will read or listen to any book on Amelia (or other female pilots) she can get her hands on, although she no longer wants to hear the end of the story. She knows Amelia will disappear, never to be seen or heard from again. She is only mildly interested in news reports related to Amelia's disappearance. She prefers to celebrate her hero's life, rather than her demise. She fell in love with the idea of being a pilot the first time we read this book, and I think she likes to imagine Amelia is still circling the sky in her silver Elektra.
Last year, we were able to take the girls to the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC, where Little Sis posed with Amelia's red Vega, her favorite of Amelia's planes.
This year, I couldn't wait to take her to historic Atchison, Kansas, for the annual Amelia Earhart Festival, held in honor of Atchison's most famous daughter's birthday!
|This is the official button for the festival.|
I told Little Sis that it was as if they knew she was coming, and
had planned accordingly. She smiled at me and said,
"Yeah, I can be pretty horrid."
While the festival was spread over a few days, we only went up for Saturday's events. It was a beautiful hour's drive north from Leawood, Kansas, where we were staying. We arrived at a quarter 'til ten, parked near the quiet carnival, and wandered to the Commercial Street Mall, a lovely shopping area I would love to explore during a non-festival time. During the festival, the area was set up as an outdoor market, with cool crafts and baked goods. Along with the vendors, there was a duck pond (the game kind), a Mad Science booth, a couple of stages for entertainers, a petting zoo, ponies, and a human-powered spinning amusement park ride thingie that Big Sis had a lot of fun riding. (Yeah, I don't know what else to call it.)
There was an Amelia on stilts! We couldn't convince our little Amelia and her tiny Amelia (doll) to pose with her, but Big Sis was game.
We lingered on the mall for a couple of hours. There was a lot to see, and there was a giant birthday card to sign and cake to eat. The birthday cake meant missing seeing and hearing Amelia Rose Earhart at Benedictine College. I think Little Sis would have liked to have seen her, but cake won out.
After our cake, we walked up, Up, UP steep hilly streets - not all of Kansas is flat, although Wichita is, and that's what we're used to - to the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum.
This is the beautiful old house owned by Amelia's maternal grandparents, Alfred and Amelia Otis, prominent citizens of Atchison. Besides being born in this house, Amelia lived with her grandparents for much of her childhood, returning to her parents in Kansas City, KS, during the summer.
Inside the house, we found a lot of cool memorabilia and Victorian decor. You can see pictures on the museum website. When I asked Little Sis what her favorite part of the tour was, first she replied, "All of it," then changed her mind. "The gift shop." No wonder. The ladies in the gift shop were very accommodating to my little Amelia fan, digging out pictures and a poster for the movie Amelia, starring Hilary Swank.
The Otises were very well-off, and their view proved it. The house overlooks the Missouri River, and off to the side, we could see the blue Amelia Earhart Memorial Bridge (not the original) on which we drove into town.
The walk back to the commercial district was downhill and more enjoyable. We had gorgeous Victorian houses to gawk at, and came upon a lovely sunflower.
We returned to our car, and drove to Trinity Episcopal Church, where Amelia was baptized.
There was to have been a historical 1890s-style service, but it was canceled when the former rector left, and it was too late to change the festival brochures. We still received a tour of the gorgeous old building (some of the stained glass window are Tiffany!) and had some refreshments. Plus, the supply priest was there to receive visitors: the former assistant rector from our church here at home!
"Mommy?" Little Sis asked. "Can we come back next year with Daddy, and then we can go to carnival and see the fireworks? I want to go back to the hotel."
We walked over to Subway and grabbed some grub to go. Then we drove a bit around this historic railroad town on the Missouri River, then crossed the blue bridge out of town.
Back in Leawood, Little Sis changed into her new t-shirt and wrote "I ♥ Amelia Earhart" on her 8x10 photo print from the gift shop.
You can check out some of our previous Amelia and women pilot love here.