When Aspen Martinez arrived at Old Abilene Town early Saturday morning, raindrops sprinkled the area.
The rain, however, stayed away and the 6-year-old from Salina was still enjoying the festivities of Chisholm Trail Days at Old Abilene Town well into Saturday afternoon.
“We’re having a very fun time,” said her mother, Annette Kjellberg.
She said she didn’t expect all the activities in the Kid’s Corral.
“It was a pleasant surprise, with all the animals, the bull, the bouncy house, the carriage ride. I didn’t know about the horse rides.
“Horse riding was her favorite.”
Kjellberg’s parents, Randy and Linda Doggett of Beloit, watched the longhorns parade through the streets of Old Abilene Town while sitting on a bench in front of the Way Station.
Kjellberg said she has seen the longhorns in the streets of Russell but never got as close to them as they did in Abilene.
Weather and the expected rain was a concern for the organizers of Chisholm Trail Days, held the Saturday and Sunday before Labor Day. The event was the 152nd anniversary of the first cattle drive to Abilene, which was on Sept. 5, 1867.
“I just tried not to think about it,” said Sarah Wilson, event coordinator. “It drizzled a little at the beginning but not too bad. You can’t do anything to control it. It is what it is.”
The overcast sky and cooler temperatures helped increase the attendance.
“I’m really happy with the turnout,” Wilson said.
There were activities for the kids, the longhorns and plenty of food trucks. There were musical acts both evenings.
“We have been busy down here this summer, and I think that is helping us now with events because people remember we are open,” Wilson said.
New to Old Abilene Town was the scale model of Texas Street built by Ronnie Phillips and Roger Watts. It had been moved from the Dickinson Heritage Center.
The gunfighters also did a reenactment of Marshal Tom Smith’s death and of Wild Bill Hickok shooting deputy Mike Williams.
Miss Rodeo Kansas Brooke Wallace was on hand for autographs and pictures Saturday.
The Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad provided rides with the steam engine sounding its whistle throughout the day.
Judging from the license plates on the vehicles parked around the venue, the event attracted people from across Kansas.
“I talked to some people who drove 80 miles,” Wilson said. “Friday I was screening a lot of calls, some from Lindsborg, some from the Wichita area. I do think people are coming from out of town, but I think we have a lot of local Abilene people here, too.”
Contact Tim Horan at firstname.lastname@example.org.