When you’ve lived in and around a small town your entire life, you know that the most exciting thing to do on a Saturday night may not exactly encourage your out-of-town relatives to pay you a visit. That doesn’t mean that you can’t show them a good time, of course, once you’ve convinced them to give it a try. Barring a trip to a nearby big city, there are other ways you can have some fun.
Haysville, Kansas, located just south of Wichita, is an excellent example. It doesn’t have any museums or even a movie theater, but it does have some redeeming entertainment qualities. One advantage of the layout of the town, or any town its size, is that everything is within walking or biking distance. The city has, in fact, recently completed the construction of a sidewalk trail that circles through town, providing a well-lighted area for pedestrian travel.
There is a variety of eating establishments in town, something for nearly everyone, when you make plans to go out for dinner. If you are in the mood for Chinese, my personal favorite is the small, family-owned China Café on Main St., where you can watch your order being made fresh while you wait. If you prefer the all-American style of pizza, there is a Pizza Hut right across the street. And if you want something healthier, there’s a Subway on the corner of Grand (71st St.) and Broadway. Whether you’re looking for big-chain food, like at the Sonic Drive-Thru just north of Subway and the Dairy Queen on Main St., or a little small-town charm, like at Pam’s Diner just north of China Café, you’ll find it on a quick drive through Haysville.
When you’re finished with dinner, or possibly lunch, you might feel like spending a relaxing evening at home. You can do so by first stopping by one of the video rental stores in town. Movie Gallery is on Main St. and also offers tanning beds if that’s how you’d rather spend your Saturday. Family Video is on Grand and is rumored to have the lowest video prices in town.
If you’d rather spend a night on the town after lunch or dinner, it’s best to check community events in advance. The easiest way is to turn the television to local Channel 7, which runs continuous information on local events, weather, and town meetings. You can also phone the City Building, the Haysville Activity Center, and the Haysville Community Library. The Activity Center, referred to affectionately as the HAC by locals, offers plenty of exercise programs and often hosts local activities like the Senior Center’s monthly Senior Jam. Bring your own instrument to join in the fun or just come to watch; everyone is welcome. The Library and the local churches sometimes host holiday-specific events, culture programs, and movie screenings, so if you can get your hands on a phone book, it can be helpful to make a few calls to some of these places.
There may not be a theater in Haysville, but that doesn’t mean the citizens are deprived of live entertainment. Campus High School, north of the main city limits, has a theater group that performs each school year. A local group also holds “Shakespeare in the Park” events each year; a quick contact with the HAC will tell you when the next play is. There is also a Bingo hall on Grand, and the local Senior Center often holds movie nights and poker games, to which everyone is welcome.
The holidays are the times when Haysville’s entertainment star really shines. Each Fourth of July, there is a parade through the center of town and a celebration in the park that includes local vendors, a barbecue, and musical entertainment. A similar celebration takes places each October as part of Haysville’s annual Fall Festival. This traditional event has even booked such big name entertainers as country music’s Ty England. A newly created Spring Festival also takes place every year. Christmas is also a big event. December is the perfect opportunity to drive around and view the light shows that each neighborhood puts on, especially since the local Pride Program group sponsors a light contest each year.
The city holds a lighting ceremony before Christmas and every community group and church schedules a special event during this time of year. If you don’t mind the crowds and you love hunting for good bargains, Haysville’s annual City-Wide Garage Sale is perfect for you; visitors come from all over the Midwest to join in this event. The city also has its own Farmer’s Market, open during the spring and summer.
Whether you’re planning a holiday visit to the area or just looking for something fun to do on the weekend, Haysville, like many small towns, has more to offer than it may at first seem to. It’s well worth the walk around the park.