There’s something new in the air at Old Cowtown Museum this weekend: a first-of-its-kind country music festival that city officials hope will help revitalize the attraction.
Here are a half-dozen things to know about the Real American Country Fest, which is being staged by longtime local radio guy Larry Steckline:
▪ Country music performers Mark Chesnutt and Joe Diffie are the headliners. Chesnutt plays at 7 p.m. Saturday and Diffie at 5 p.m. Sunday.
There’s a ton of local talent on the bill, too. Saturday’s lineup includes Kim Coslett at 10 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.; the Matt Engels Band at 11:15 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.; Outlaws Inc. at 1 and 4:45 p.m.; and Nappawalla Acoustic Alliance at 6 p.m.
Sunday’s performances start with a gospel sing-along at 10 a.m., followed by South Central Express, 11:30 a.m.; Branded, 1 p.m.; Jason Boyd Band, 2:30 p.m.; Kansas Association of Bluegrass members, 4 p.m.
▪ The concerts will take place at the south end of Cowtown’s main street. Some bleachers and straw bales are available for seating. Visitors are also encouraged to bring their own chairs.
▪ Steckline has added, subtracted and confirmed some features since his initial plans for the festival were announced. Helicopter rides are out because of the presence of some power lines, but a car show is on that Steckline thinks will draw 150 vehicles. A chuckwagon cook-off, pony rides and pig races “every two hours” also are happening.
▪ Visitors can take advantage of Cowtown’s usual attractions, from a petting zoo and mock gunfights to touring buildings from the city’s past.
▪ You can still get coupons for half-price tickets at sponsors including Meineke Car Care Centers, CrossFirst Bank, Eddy’s Dealership locations and the Augusta Ace Hardware. “We had to reprint them because so many went out,” Steckline said.
▪ In the case of bad weather, the concerts will go on. Steckline has arranged for the use of Century II for that purpose. “It looks like a better forecast, but it changes every 30 minutes,” he said.
REAL AMERICAN COUNTRY FEST
Where: Old Cowtown Museum, 1865 Museum Blvd.
When: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $20 per day; children 12 and under get in free with an accompanying adult.
Tickets are available at WichitaTix.com or Old Cowtown Museum.