The Kansas Sampler Center is located in a barn on the Penner family 1874 homestead.

Dozens of Kansans gathered at the Sampler Center in 2016 to brainstorm a new event that would take the place of the Kansas Sampler Festival which ended after 28 years.

Creative minds came up with a plan on how to bring visitors to rural communities to showcase what rural living is like and to infuse pride, understanding and economic development through tourism.

How did the Big Kansas Road Trip get started?


In 2017, the 28th and final Kansas Sampler Festival was held in Winfield.  This had been a beloved event in which representatives from about 130 communities came annually to help the public know what there was to see, do, hear, taste and buy in Kansas. We decided it was time to hit the refresh button while the event was still going strong.  So, a year prior to that last event, dozens of rural community doers from across the state gathered at the Kansas Sampler Center barn to help brainstorm a new event, name it, and decide where to hold that first new event. A bold step by committed Kansans.

The Big Kansas Road Trip was created to be active, to be fun, to bring people together AND to make an economic and social difference in the showcase counties.  It was designed to help people understand rural culture and to bring urban and rural folks together.

The Big Goal is to get people addicted to exploring Kansas so they'll want to do it year-round in a way that will help sustain communities.

The showcase counties have been Barber, Comanche and Kiowa (2018) Cheyenne, Sherman and Wallace (2019); Brown, Doniphan and Nemaha (2021 -due to covid, the event was moved from 2020); Bourbon, Cherokee and Crawford (2022) and Jewell, Republic and Smith (2023). We travel next to Ellsworth and Lincoln counties and the community of Lucas (located in Russell County), May 2-5, 2024.  

The Kansas Sampler Foundation was established in 1993 as a 501c3 public non-profit. Our philosophy recognizes rural culture and the contributions communities have made to the history and ongoing drama of rural Kansas. We define rural culture as the combination of eight elements: Architecture, Art, Commerce, Cuisine, Customs, Geography, History and People. We encourage and support communities to preserve and sustain their rural culture in a way that will help them be the best they can be at being themselves.

Marci Penner, Co-Director and Sarah Green, Co-Director; WenDee Rowe, Project Manager

The Kansas Sampler Center is located on the family farm homesteaded in 1874, located near Inman in McPherson County. kansassampler.org.