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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Mine Creek foundation to host music festival on Saturday

The Prairie Sunflower Strings will be one of three groups featured at the Mine Creek Music Fest on Saturday. The Mine Creek Battlefield Foundation is sponsoring the festival to raise money for the battlefield site. (Journal file photo)

MOUND CITY – The Kansas State Historical Society manages several state-owned historic sites around Kansas. However, in the case of the Mine Creek Battlefield a group of volunteers and patrons insure that the historic site remains an attraction for locals and tourists alike.

This Saturday from 3 to 7 p.m., the Mine Creek Battlefield Foundation is hosting a music festival that aims to raise money for the programs it sponsors there. The festival will be at the battlefield site on Kansas Highway 52 about a mile west of U.S. Highway 69.

The local bands will provide entertainment during the four-hour festival. Backside of the Moon, a four-piece band from the Mound City area will play country favorites; Prairie Sunflower Strings out of Fort Scott will play traditional songs; and Morgan and Ryan Brown from the Pleasanton area will play country favorites as well.

Whildin’s Wieners from Jingo will be serving its sausages there as well.

Organizers suggest festival-goers bring chairs, blankets and a picnic dinner. The suggested contribution to attend is $10 a head.

All money raised by the festival will go towards funding events and projects that the foundation sponsors.

Members of the Mine Creek Battlefield Foundation include, front row from left, Marilyn Bell, secretary Wendy Morlan, president Tamara Neal, treasurer Monica Chapman; back row, Randal Durbin, Mike Brown, Theresa Miller, vice president Steve Ellis, and Arnold Scofield. Fred Kolom was not available for the photo.

One of the two main events sponsored by the foundation includes Park Day, a battlefield site cleanup every spring, and a Heritage Day event each August. On Park Day, Foundation members and volunteers descend on the battlefield site to clear trails and spruce up the area for summer visitors

The Heritage Day event includes Union and Confederate re-enactors portraying the Battle of Mine Creek, vendors selling a variety of goods, educational exhibits, live music from the Civil War period and food.

Open year-round are nearly three miles of mowed trails that have markers in strategic spots. A map of the trails is available at the museum. Developing and maintaining trails are also part of the foundation’s goal.

The foundation and its supporters organize the annual Heritage Day every August which includes Union and Confederate re-enactors bringing the battle back to life. (Journal file photo)

“The role of the foundation is to support the state,” said Tamara Neal, foundation president.

But the foundation does more than support the state site. Of the 610 acres of the battlefield site under protection, the state owns 285 acres and the foundation owns more than 320 acres. A couple of rental houses are on the foundation property, and proceeds from that rent go toward the foundation’s overall fundraising effort, Neal said.

The foundation also gave to the state the land on which the recently constructed museum was built.

One of the projects slated for this summer is rebuilding what is called the Benteen Bridge, a structure named after Gen. Fredrick Benteen of the Battle of Little Bighorn fame that was damaged in flooding 10 years ago. Aaron Coleman with the Pleasanton Scouting America troop (formerly the Boy Scouts of America) has taken on that project as a public service for his Eagle badge.

Neal said that the 10-member foundation board is also looking at forming a Friends of the Mine Creek Battlefield group. The purpose of that group would be to get more people, particularly younger people, involved in supporting the battlefield park.

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