There can be no doubt that the years Amelia Earhart spent in her hometown of Atchison, Kansas helped to inspire her to become the American icon we all know. So, every year in July, the city of Atchison, Kansas, throws a great big birthday celebration for their hometown heroine, Amelia Earhart and invites us to participate.
Amelia’s hometown, Atchison, Kansas
Amelia was born on July, 24th, 1897, in the quaint Victorian town of Atchison, Kansas, in the upstairs bedroom of her grandparent’s home overlooking the Missouri river. Amelia and at times her sister Muriel would live ,on and off till 1908, with their grandparents in Atchison. Amelia enjoyed everything from reading books from her grandfather’s extensive library to sledding down the large hills to exploring the caves along the banks of the Missouri. Amelia loved her time in Atchison and returned there for a visit in 1935 to share her success with her home town.
And Atchison loves Amelia. That is why every year since the commemoration of her 100th birthday, in 1997, Atchison has put on a Festival in her honor.
Just as Amelia got along with everyone she met, this Festival has something for everyone to enjoy. For those loving Americana, there is a hometown carnival in the middle of town with rides, games and food and music. Friday night there is a country music concert. This year it will star Dierks Bentley and Danielle Peck plus the Drew Davis Band.
Celebrating American Women Pioneers
As Amelia kept scrapbooks of her female heroes as she was growing up and because Amelia herself was a pioneer in her field, the celebration of Amelia would not be complete without paying honor to a current woman pioneer. This year there is a luncheon to honor one of the greatest woman parachutist in the world and certainly the greatest in America, Cheryl Stearns. These luncheons are always informative, entertaining and usually quite inspiring.
Earhart Books and the Earhart Mystery
Finally, for those interested in Amelia, there are usually always several researchers and Earhart authors to meet who will sign autographs and who are hard at work trying to discover the truth about Earhart’s disappearance. The Earhart birth house is open all weekend for self guided tours. It is a beautifully restored inside and there are a lot of Earhart photos and memorabilia. There is even a gift shop. And don’t forget to ask to see the basement. There are trolley tours showing the highlights of Amelia’s life in Atchison. There is also a great one woman show by official Earhart impersonator, Dr. Anne Birney. It’s as if she’s really there.
This year there is a special treat on Saturday afternoon. A wonderful new documentary on Amelia Earhart never seen before called “Close To Closure” by Andrea Niapis, featuring interviews with many famous Earhart researchers and members of Amelia Earhart’s family and the family of George Palmer Putnam; Amelia Earhart’s husband.
Firewoks and Flying Exhibition
In special honor to Amelia, on Saturday evening, there is an aerial demonstration above the Missouri river. At dusk, the planes do an aerobatic exhibition to celebrate the spirit of Amelia.
To top it all off, following the aerial exhibition, there is the most spectacular fireworks display set to music you will ever see in your life. Because they shoot the fireworks off from the Missouri side of the river, where there are no buildings, they can shoot them very high and make them very big. Just one can fill the whole sky.
For more information for this year’s festival, visit the Atchison, Kansas Chamber of Commerce website –
For more information on Ameiia, read – East With the Dawn – By Susan Bulter