In less than three weeks, when the U.S. Postal Service releases a new round of commemorative stamps, Kansas will be at the forefront.
"This year, we are celebrating Kansas statehood," said Brian Sperry, regional spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service.
The new stamp, which will be sold as a forever stamp costing 44 cents, features a close-up of a spinning windmill with a field of wind turbines in the background, set against a blue sky.
It was unveiled at the Kansas State Fair in September, but a first-day-of-issuance celebration will be held at 10 a.m. Jan. 27 at the Kansas Museum of History, 6425 SW Sixth Ave. in Topeka.
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The stamp is among 25 to be released this year. Others include: Ronald Reagan, the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 auto race, Mark Twain, Gregory Peck, and Latin music stars Selena, Carlos Gardel, Carmen Miranda, Tito Puente and Celia Cruz.
In addition, there are stamps commemorating former U.S. Rep. Barbara Jordan of Texas, the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the 50th anniversary of America's first manned space flight, and several Disney Pixar movie characters.
People may purchase the Kansas stamp at the celebration in Topeka on Jan. 27, at any post office, at the Postal Store website at www.usps.com/shop, or by calling 800-STAMP-24.
Sperry said the Postal Service receives more than 50,000 requests each year for commemorative stamps. A stamp advisory committee, comprising historians, artists and sports authorities, narrows the list to 25 subjects for the U.S. postmaster to review and approve.
This is not the first time the Postal Service has celebrated Kansas with a stamp, Sperry said.
It did so in 1954, when the state celebrated its territorial centennial; in 1961 for the statehood centennial; in 1974, as part of a rural America series; in 1982, with a stamp showing two of the state's symbols, the sunflower and western meadowlark; in 2002, as part of the Greetings from America series; and in 2008, with a stamp highlighting the Kansas flag.
Other activities celebrating the 150th anniversary of Kansas that week include a live broadcast at 10 a.m. Jan. 28 on Kansas PBS stations.
"It was done then so Kansas schoolchildren could see it," said Mary Madden, state coordinator of the Kansas sesquicentennial events.
On Jan. 29 — the actual anniversary date of Kansas statehood — Kansans are invited to bake cakes celebrating Kansas' birthday, take photos and post them on the state's 150th website through Flickr. That website, which also lists other state activities throughout 2011, is www.ks150.org.
"We are hoping to get at least 150 cakes posted," Madden said.