You’ll see it painted on the sides of buildings downtown. Emblazoned on T-shirts worn by people you pass. Bumper stickered onto the back of passing cars.
And if you’re not from Wichita, you’ll likely wonder what exactly is the meaning of the flag with the red and white stripes and the decorated blue circle that you see everywhere you go.
That’s just our city flag – and over the past several years, it’s become a much-worn, oft-painted, frequently flown sign of local pride. And because of its resurgence in popularity, it’ll be easy for you to take some of it home with you. Flag swag, from T-shirts to bumper stickers to earrings to windsocks – is now readily available in stores across the city.
Here’s the story behind the flag: In 1937, the Wichita’s American Legion put on design-the-city-flag contest, and local artist Cecil McAlister won. His design, featuring red and white rays radiating from a blue circle stamped with a Native American symbol, became Wichita’s official flag.
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The circle is said to represent the sun. The white stripes represent courage. And the red stripes represent virtue and honor.
That was that for decades.
About three years ago, though, the flag went from obscure to everywhere. A local entrepreneur began selling “flag swag” out of her custom drapery and upholstery store, and it became a thing. Soon, everyone everywhere was selling and buying items emblazoned with the Wichita flag.
If you’re from far away, you might grab a T-shirt to take back home and make all you friends guess at the meaning behind your Wichitawesome new duds.
Best places to see the flag
The Wichita flag is flying all over town, but it’s also been featured in many eye-catching murals that are perfect backgrounds for Wichita selfies. Here are the ones we recommend:
Pumphouse, 825 E. Second: This Old Town Wichita bar has pretty much transformed its outdoor patio into one giant Wichita flag.
Accident Recovery Team, 221 S. Topeka: This law office has a big, bold Wichita flag painted on the side of its office.
Delano Barbecue Company, 710 W. Douglas: The whole facade of this near-downtown barbecue restaurant has been transformed into a Wichita flag.
Doo-Dah Diner, 206 E. Kellogg: A large Wichita flag is painted on to the west-facing side of this popular downtown diner.
Best places to buy flag swag
Lucinda’s Old Town, 329 N. Mead: This adorable gift shop in Old Town Square is overflowing with Wichita T-shirts, jewelry, stickers, glassware and more.
Doo-Dah Diner, 206 E. Kellogg: This restaurant has an extra room that’s filled with Wichita-esque apparel, mugs and more.
The Workroom, 150 N. Cleveland: This little downtown home decor shop originated the flag swag movement in Wichita and has lots of things in stock, from T-shirts to onesies to coffee mugs.
Watermark Books, 4701 E. Douglas: This near-downtown bookstore also is a good place to load up on Wichita wares.
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