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Rotary Freedom Festival 2017

Jul 1, 2017 from 9:00 am to 10:30 pm
Downtown Topeka, Topeka, KS
Event Summary

The second annual Rotary Freedom Festival will be held Saturday, July 1, 2017 in downtown Topeka.

Download the activities map

In case of rain, the event will be held at the Topeka Performing Arts facility.

Join us for the Run for Freedom (5K), historical reenactments, military displays, children and family activities at the State Capitol, a Pop-Up park on the Kaw, food vendors and live music in the pocket parks on Kansas Avenue. The evening concludes with a concert headlined by Kelley Hunt.  You will need a ticket to get through the gate on Kansas Avenue at either eighth street or tenth street.

Event Schedule / Activities
List Calendar
Jul 1, 2017
9:00 am
Displays of Military Hardware
500 and 600 blocks of Kansas Ave. Rolling Thunder Club and the National Guard will bring antique and current military vehicles to view.  (420 minutes)
9:00 am
Pocket Park Entertainment
Pocket Parks along Kansas Avenue will have music, story telling, poetry and other entertainment between 10 and 3 PM. Schedule is below. Circulator bus will transport people up and down Kansas Ave.  (420 minutes)
9:00 am
Run for Freedom
Race course is 5K through the Capitol grounds downtown. Timed race starts at 9th and Jackson at 9:00 AM Fun Run is 0.6 mile around the perimeter of Capitol on sidewalks. 9:15 start.  (60 minutes)
9:00 am
Statehouse Sampler
Twenty-six agencies provide free activities on the East side of the Capitol grounds adjacent to Jackson street for kids and families. Jackson street will be closed for large exhibits.  (360 minutes)
10:00 am
Historical Reenactments
President Pierce sent Col. Sumner to disperse the Kansas Legislature on July 4, 1856 because they were about to become a free state legislature. This reenactment depicts that critical event.  (300 minutes)
10:00 am
Pop-up Park and Paddling on the Kaw
Walk on the Levee and Enjoy the River. Sponsored by the Kaw River Authority, this event is to draw people to the north bank of the river for a safe, fun experience.  (420 minutes)
4:00 pm
Outdoor Evening Concert
Music begins at 4:00 PMĀ  Main Stage 9th & Kansas Avenue. Food trucks and Beer Gardens available. Admission is free; ticket required. Reserved seats $10. Entrance Gates at 8th, 10th &Kansas  (390 minutes)
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Event Details

    Freedom’s Crossroads in Topeka

From fighting against slavery as a free state to bringing the landmark desegregation case, Topeka is a crossroads for the nation's struggle for freedom-– a concept that has changed over time as events in Topeka's history have evolved.

This Rotary Freedom festival celebrates our Kansas history, our diversity and our pride in being a community where important things happened.

ACTIVITIES MAP (view and download)

Planned Activities from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Run for Freedom –0.6 mile around Capitol for kids;  5 K timed races  begins at 9:00 AM at Capitol grounds and 9th street.  Fun Run starts at 9:15 AM.

Reenactments at Constitution Hall of the dispersal of the Legislature by Col. Sumner in 1854.  Scheduled at 10:00AM, noon and 2:00 PM.

Pop-Up Park and Paddling on the Kaw - experience where the first settlers crossed, walk the levee, enjoy boating, music and stories about the river.  Catch the circulator bus  every 15  minutes at Constitution Hall.

Displays of Military Hardware (500, 600 block of Kansas Ave.)

Enjoy the Statehouse Sampler:  Fun, Free Activities for Children and Family on State Capitol Grounds

  • Tours of State Capitol 
  • face painting and crafts for children
  • sidewalk chalk art
  • 25 different exhibitors with information and activities.

Free bus rides on Kansas Avenue to get to all the locations beginning at 10:00.  Route takes about 15 minutes to complete the circuit.  Park your car and ride!

Pocket parks along Kansas Avenue will have music, storytelling, chess and other activities throughout the day from 9-3 PM.  Click here for the complete schedule.  

Free evening concerts – starting at 4 PM                                             Outdoor stage at 9th and Kansas

  • The Smooth Tones featuring Kelvin Ross plays at 4:00 PM
  • The Skirts – a women's bluegrass group from Chase County playing at 5:15 PM
  • Maria the Mexican, an edgy, new group playing “roots rock” with a Mexican flair-6:45 PM
  • Kelley Hunt – Nationally recognized Blues singer-songwriter – playing at 8:30 PM

Food and Drink

  • Rotary Beer Garden starting at 4:00 PM near music on Kansas Avenue.
  • Food Trucks on Kansas Ave between 8th and 10th 4:00 - 10 PM
  • Assumption Church Food Court near Capitol 10-3 PM
  • Food concessions by Our Lady of Guadalupe at the Rotary Pocket Park at Constitution Hall 10-3PM
  • Picnic Tables available in the Kaw River Pop-up Park; Bring your food or buy at food concessions  10-3PM


Tickets (free) will be required to enter the Concert, Music and Food area after 4 PM. 21 or Older ticket holders will be required to show proper identification to receive a wristband allowing alcohol purchases.

A limited number of reserved seats for the musical entertainment are available for $10 each.

Volunteer to Help

We also need volunteers to help with activities, and organizations to provide family-friendly activities at the Capitol Grounds from 9-3 PM.

Contact Joan Wagnon at or 785-249-3464 for more information. 

Event Sponsors
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Downtown Topeka
9th and Kansas Avenue
Topeka, KS, 66612

Jul 1, 2017 from 9:00 am to 10:30 pm
Connect with Rotary Freedom Festival 2017!
Rotary Club of Topeka

Service Above Self
We meet Thursdays at 12:00 PM
Ramada Hotel and Convention Center, Downtown
420 SE 6th Avenue
Topeka, KS 66607

Re-send Order Confirmation
Click here to re-send your order confirmation or PDF tickets.