Wichita will be full of wild women and wild animals this weekend, with one set at Century II and the other at Hartman Arena.
The two big attractions, designed for two distinctly different demographics, are the Wichita Women’s Fair, which runs Friday through Sunday at Century II, 225 W. Douglas, and the Midian Shrine Circus, which has shows Friday through Sunday at Hartman Arena, 8151 N. Hartman Arena Drive in Park City.
The Women’s Fair
The Women’s Fair, which fills Century II every year with blinged-out purses, jewelry, cooking demonstrations, fashion shows, food samples, hair-styling demonstrations, fitness products and more, gets bigger every year.
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This is the 15th year for the fair. Organizers and friends Chris Veazey Brown and Deanna Wheeler put on the first one in 1999 and drew 80 exhibitors and 4,500 people.
This weekend’s show, by comparison, will have more than 300 exhibitors, and organizers are expecting 16,000 people to attend.
“I remember working for other people, and 15 years seemed like a long time,” Brown said. “This has just whirled by, and I think that one reason is that I’m working with a very good friend, and we’re so compatible. And it’s so fun and fresh all the time. It’s very hard work, but it’s also like playing.”
This year’s fair will include all the expected attractions, plus a few new ones. Brown said she’s excited about the emcee for Friday evening’s “Girls Night Out.” Former Eagle fashion columnist Bonnie Bing, who retired last year, is trading in her annual fashion show to narrate the events that fill Friday evening’s schedule, including a 4 p.m. dancing demonstration, a 5 p.m. fashion show, a 5:30 p.m. wine tasting, a 6 p.m. hair show and a 6:30 p.m. cooking demonstration by chef Tanya Tandoc of Tanya’s Soup Kitchen.
The fair continues through Sunday and will fill 30 stages. Among the other highlights: a presentation called “Chaos to Calm: Stop Living Life Like an Emergency” at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and a mother-daughter look-alike contest at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
The fair also will be giving away a trip to see the “American Idol” season finale. It will be awarded to someone who’s visiting the event between 4 and 6 p.m. Saturday.
Fair hours are noon to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8.25 for adults, $7.25 for seniors and $5.25 for children ages 6-12. Children 5 and under get in free. A bus will transport people for free from the Lawrence-Dumont Stadium parking lot, 300 S. Sycamore, to the entrance.
For more information, visit www.womensfair.com.
Midian Shrine Circus
Inside Hartman Arena, a three-ring spectacle will feature elephants, tigers, ponies and trick poodles jumping through hoops. It’ll also have trapeze artists, tightrope walkers and plenty of crazy clowns.
This is the 75th year for the circus, the Midian Shriners’ biggest annual fundraiser.
For years, it was staged at the Kansas Coliseum, then moved to Intrust Bank Arena. Last year, the Shriners moved the circus to Hartman Arena.
For an extra fee, children can ride the elephants and ponies, have their faces painted and be photographed with a clown.
Those who buy a program will have the opportunity to win a free bicycle.
Show times are 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 and 6 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets are $16, $20 and $25 for adults and $7, $12 and $16 for children.
They’re available at the arena box office, stage1tickets.com or by calling 316-927-3999.