Labor Day weekend is designed for fun in Dickinson County.
Chisholm Trail Days will be Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 in Old Abilene Town. Chapman’s big annual Labor Day celebration will take place on Labor Day, Sept. 2.
Abilene will relive a (tamer) version of its inglorious past with gunfights, can-can dancers, music halls and longhorn cattle during Chisholm Trail Days on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.
The festival will cover two days again this year to “help us reach different crowds,” said Sarah Wilson, Chisholm Trail Days organizer. Saturday is also the season-opener for Kansas State University football, she said, so those who go to the game won’t miss out on anything they want to enjoy, except perhaps for one of the musical acts.
“There’s a lot of local talent for musical performances” this year, Wilson said.
Geff and Dawn Dawson have Abilene connections and will perform on the main stage at 8 p.m. Friday followed by the Lazy Wayne Band from Salina and Dickinson County.
Saturday night’s performers include the Serenity String Band from Dickinson County followed by Lucas Maddy and the Kansas Cartel out of Manhattan.
Gates open both days at 10 a.m. with gunfights at 10:30 a.m. to get both days off with a bang. Other gunfights and can-can dancer performances are scheduled throughout the day and into the evening.
Longhorns will parade through Old Abilene Town at noon, 1:30, 3:00 and 5:00 both days to the corral where they will be loaded onto trains.
Lots of activities are planned for kids: a water-gun fast-draw contest, stick horse races, tug of war competitions and a petting zoo.
Weekend passes cost $15 for adults over age 16, and $7 for kids, ages 15 to 6. The events are free for children younger than 5. Day passes cost $10 for adults and $5 for kids. The price is the same in advance or at the gate, Wilson said.
People can ride the trains, with the cattle, but in more luxury. The Abilene and Smoky Valley Railroad will have its usual runs to Enterprise and back at 10:00, 12:30, 2:00 and 3:30 both days.
The railroad will offer dinner in the dining car pulled by its 100-year-old steam engine at 6:30 Aug. 31 with the Brookville Hotel serving fried chicken. For reservations or more information about the train rides, go to asvrr.org.
Chapman has celebrated Labor Day in a big way for 110 years.
Activities start Aug. 31 with a co-ed slow pitch softball tournament starting at 10 a.m. and a barbecue cook-off at 3 p.m.
Sept. 1 will feature golf and cornhole tournaments. There will be street dances both evenings and a fireworks show after dark Sept. 1.
Most activities will be Sept. 2, starting with the Steve Miller Memorial 5K Run/Walk at 7 a.m. after pancakes and sausage at 6:30.
During the day will be a car show, toy show, quilt show and antique tractor show, as well as arts and crafts and food vendors and kids activities.
The big parade will start at 2 p.m.
Those who would like something a tad quieter can become reacquainted with Ike and Mamie at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene. The museum which re-opened in July after extensive renovations will be open regular hours, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., all weekend.