Spring Tea

Augusta Historical Society Fundraiser

Set against the backdrop of a bright sunny, blue sky, the Augusta Historical Society held their annual Spring Tea fundraiser on Friday, May 6th and Saturday, May 7th inside the historic C.N. James cabin.

C.N. James Cabin is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This was the first time the event has been held since the pandemic began in 2020.

Tables were decorated by volunteers with their own personal china, linens and handkerchiefs to accompany the theme of “Grandmother’s Handkerchief.”  

Tables were decorated in the theme: Grandmothers’ Handkerchief.

The guests were dressed in florals and many wore hats for the festive occasion dined on finger sandwiches, and an array of desserts along with tea from the Spice Merchant.

Sierra Marie Bonn, Miss Butler County, welcomed guests and visited with them during the tea on Saturday.

      “We’ve been doing this for 25 years and we’re so excited to be back again,” said Priscilla Templin, Executive Director of the Augusta Historical Society and Museum. 

Priscilla Templin, Executive Director of the Augusta Historical Society, right, with Miss Butler County Sierra Marie Bonn.

The Haas family has been attending the tea party for 20 years and was glad for the event to return.

Chris Haas, left, enjoyed tea with her family. Pictured right is Ashley Haas.

“We first came when my daughters were 4 and 6,” said Chris Haas, mother to Abby, 24 and Ashley, 26. 

They, along with Chris’ mother-in-law, sister-in-law and niece have made the tea party an annual girls’ day ever since.

Funds raised through the Spring Tea will contribute to the overall goal of $40,000 needed to restore the C.N. James Cabin.

C.N. James Cabin estoration fundraising goal is $40,000

The cabin was built in 1868 by Chester (C.N.) James and his wife Augusta. The cabin was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 and is one of only two log cabins on its original site in the State of Kansas. It is the oldest building in Augusta and one of the oldest landmarks in Butler County.

Making Memories

Egg-splosion at Walters’ Pumpkin Patch

Bracing against the windy, forty degree weather with colorful baskets in hand, families arrived  at Walters’ Pumpkin Patch for breakfast with the Easter Bunny. 

The Easter Bunny joined hundreds of families

Walters’ annual Egg-splosion was held on Saturday, April 16, 2022 at the farm located 10 minutes north of El Dorado on Highway 77. 

Egg hunters spent the morning finding colorful eggs filled with candy and toys.

After breakfast with the Easter Bunny, individual egg hunts were held divided by age groups.  Kim came all the way from Maize to join her granddaughter, Talia for the egg-splosion. They were in the 0-3 egg hunt age group. 

Visitor, Kim from Maize, with her granddaughter Talia, have breakfast with the Easter Bunny.

“We had a blast,” said Kim with Talia echoing her sentiment. 

“The drive was worth it to see the bunny,” she said.

Following the egg hunts, families gathered along the fence line of the large open field to watch the airplane egg drop and scramble to collect the eggs filled with candy and toys. 

The Easter Bunny acted as Air Traffic Controller to guide the plane down the “runway” in order to drop the eggs.

While Walters’ Pumpkin Patch is known for their fall festival which provides visitors with the opportunity to pick their own pumpkin, navigate a corn maze, and enjoy many activities, the farm transitions with the seasons to offer unique experiences for their guests.  Now, they are continuing the fun and changing perceptions with unique offerings throughout the year.

While Walters’ Pumpkin Patch has been known primarily as a fall destination, they are changing that perception with offerings throughout the year.

“Memories are the one thing we all have in common,” said Angie Day, the Events and Marketing Coordinator for  Walters’ Pumpkin Patch. 

“We harvest memories,” she said. “We are blessed to have multiple generations of families passing on the tradition of visiting Walters’ Farm numerous times throughout each year.”

The Easter Bunny welcomed guests with hugs and photos as they entered through the Pumpkin Patch gift shop.   The store’s backdrop highlighted the expansion of destination location offerings by Walters.

“Each event hosted at Walters’ Pumpkin Patch allows memories to be shared, remembered, harvested, and created,” said Day. 

“Walters’ Farm looks forward to creating additional events while honoring the traditions that have blessed many generations,” she said. 

Energy Education Center Groundbreaking 

Located at Butler County Historical Society Home of the Kansas Oil Museum

Board members of the Butler County Historical Society Home of the Kansas Oil Museum picked up shovels and hard hats for an on-site groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, March 29, 2022.  

El Dorado Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Phil Benedict, left, Museum Executive Director, Tiya Tonn, center, and museum employee Tyler Melugin, right, welcome attendees alongside an artist’s rendition of the future Energy Education Center.

A crowd of supporters gathered to witness Phil Benedict, Executive Director of the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce,  the emcee for the event with Brad Nightengale, Senior Vice President of Vintage Bank, Caiden Bump, Sales Manager of El Dorado Building Systems, Bill Young, Mayor of El Dorado, and Loren Jack speak during the groundbreaking event.

Supporters excited to watch the Energy Education Center come to life were on hand to witness the groundbreaking ceremony.

“We are excited to share that it is for our new Energy Education Center,” said Jack.

The Energy Education Center, a new facility spearheaded by Loren Jack, Owner of Albert Hogoboom Oilfield Trucking and President of the Board of Trustees, will be an indoor event center equipped with exhibit showcases, tables, seating, a stage, technology for presentations, a kitchen with a service window, and a 14ft access door for special equipment. 

Pictured left to right are Executive Board Members/Building Committee Members President Loren Jack, Vice President Tim Myers, Board Member JR Hogoboom, and Treasurer Sean Maclaskey.

“This building will allow for interactive STEM activities that look to the future while honoring the museum’s mission to preserve the history of the oil industry,” said Jack.

The addition of the Energy Education Center will free up space in the Large Exhibit Hall to expand displays and add exhibit features from the Museum’s extensive historic collections.  The combination of these new features is estimated to bring 15,000 additional visitors per year to the Museum and El Dorado. 

To learn more about this project, visit www.kansasoilmuseum.org/energy-education-center

SWE Engineering Expo

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Wichita Section is hosting their annual Engineering Expo on Saturday, April 9, 2022 from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. in the Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center Expo Hall.

The expo is a free, fun-filled day of STEM activities sponsored by SWE and Spirit Aerosystems.  Each year, the Society of Women Engineers Wichita Section – SWE Chapter partners with local companies, educators, and more to provide kids K-8 with FREE activities geared to engage and encourage STEM education.

“Last year’s event was held virtually and those videos are online for all to view and enjoy,” said Sierra Marie Bonn, Miss Butler County 2022 and founder of Let’s Go Full STEAM Ahead! 

Rachel Schwante, left, and Sierra Marie Bonn, right, have fun coding with LEGOs during the virtual SWE Expo 2021.

She is one of the event volunteers who will be there teaching about Leonardo’s Bridge.

“Last year I taught Coding with LEGOs,” she said. “There are so many wonderful and virtual activities to utilize when engaging students with STEM/STEAM.  All of those videos are on the YouTube channel ‘Engie does STEM.’”

“Let’s Go Full STEAM Ahead! is an organization that promotes STEAM education and engagement to empower the next generation of innovators,” she said. “STEAM is used as a popular acronym in advocacy for an increase in STEAM education in schools.”

Bonn promotes STEAM education and engagement which lies at the intersection of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, through hands-on activities like those offered at the SWE Expo as well as her book Innovators: women in history who have made positive contributions to STEAM.

Butler County Legislative Coffee

El Dorado Chamber of Commerce hosts Butler County Farm Bureau Forum

On Saturday, March 5, 2022 the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce hosted a Legislative Coffee sponsored by the Butler County Farm Bureau Association. 

Listen to the conversation on the podcast channel here.

In attendance were District 12 Representative Doug Blex, District 75 Representative Will Carpenter and District 14 Senator Mike Fagg.  They spoke to Butler County residents about the work they are currently doing on their behalf and answered questions. 

Representative Blex represents House District 12 which spans parts of 5 counties; Mongomery(part), Chautauqua, Cowley, Butler and Elk.  Blex serves on the Health and Human Services Committee, is Vice-Chair of the Local Government Committee and is on the House Taxation Committee.

“I always enjoy the Farm Bureau forums,” said Representative Blex. “I feel like I get some really straight-shooting of what the issues are.”  

Before and after the panel discussion, voters had the opportunity to speak with their legislators.  Pictured is Miss Butler County Sierra Marie Bonn discussing issues with Representative Carpenter. 

Representative Will Carpenter represents House District 75 which serves the cities of Cassoday, El Dorado, Elbing, Potwin and Towanda and the townships of Chelsea, Clifford, El Dorado, Fairmount, Fairview, Lincoln, Milton, Murdock, Plum Grove, Prospect, Rosalia and SycamoreTowanda.

Representative Carpenter serves on the Appropriations Committee, the Commerce, Labor and Economic Development Committee and the Social Services Budget Committee, for which he is the Chair. 

“I enjoy hearing from the folks back home,” said Carpenter.  “They are my eyes and ears out there.”

The Legislators each shared about the work they are doing in Topeka and took questions from the audience. Pictured is Representative Doug Blex speaking.

Senator Mike Fagg represents Senate District 14 which covers 10 counties; Butler, Chautauqua, Coffey, Cowley, Elk, Greenwood, Labette, Montgomery, Wilson and Woodson Counties.

Senator Fagg serves on the Agriculture/Natural Resources Committee, Ways and Means, Utilities, Financial Institutions/Insurance and serves as the Vice-Chair, Joint Committee for Education, Joint Committee for Mental Health, Sparks Sub-Committee for Modern and Efficiency.

“We had a lot of great questions,” said Fagg.  “The only thing I wish is that we would have more people here because we need to get everyone involved, everyone’s thoughts and ideas need to be heard.”

A small but passionate number of voters attended the Legislative Coffee.

Jeff Varner, Policy Chair for the Butler County Farm Bureau Association, said the event provided an opportunity for the public to visit with legislators.  

“It’s always amazing what you learn,” said Varner. “We have worked hard over the years to hold events like this and plan several more in the coming months.” 

“The whole purpose is to give the community a chance to talk to their representatives, see what is happening in Topeka,” said Phil Benedict, Executive Director of the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce. 

“We hope to have more throughout the year as this is an election year,” said Benedict.

The next Butler County Farm Bureau Association Legislative Coffee is scheduled to be on Saturday, March 26 from 9-11a at the Augusta Train Depot in Augusta. Representative Kristy Williams and Senator Ty Masterson will be in attendance to share the work they are doing in Topeka and visit with voters.