Lindsborg is home to several festivals annually - all of which draw huge crowds.
These include the Svensk Hyllningsfest - a biennial tribute to the Swedish pioneers occurring in October of odd numbered years. The festival features art, crafts, special foods, ethnic music, folk dancing, parade, smörgåsbord, and other entertainment. Patterned after the popular holiday in Sweden, Midsummers Day (the third Saturday of June) features Swedish folk dancing and music. Each spring the Millfest celebrates the history of the mill and the area's pioneer heritage. Each December is the Lucia Fest featuring a procession, music and dancing, baked goods and the crowning of Lindsborg's Lucia. These activities take place in several city locations, including the park in which is located the Swedish Pavilion from the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.
Perhaps the best known of all the festivals is the Messiah Festival. Held each year on the campus of Bethany College, world-reknown soloist join with the regions best singers and instrumentalists to perform J.S. Bach's "St. Matthew Passion" on Good Friday, as well as performances of Handels "Messiah." It is a thrilling musical experience, one I have witnessed live and on re-broadcast performances on public television.
This small Kansas town and this gallery are home to Jim and Kathy Richardson. Jim is a noted photographer and teacher/lecturer, probably best noted for his 25-year association with National Geographic. Many of his prints from Nat Geo assignments adorn the walls of this gallery - most notable, I think, the set of magnificent images he provided for a feature on Kansas' Flint Hills. They are breathtakingly beautiful. Kathy, too, is represented in the gallery by exquisite jewelry she has created from beads and metals collected on their world travels.
"The Red Barn Studio was the working studio of professional artist and craftsman Lester Raymer (1907-1991). The Red Barn Studio is filled with Raymer’s art and handiwork, from paintings and prints to ceramics and metalwork, from woodcarving to stitchery, furniture and jewelry. His work is influenced by his love for the world’s great painters, especially the Spanish masters, the Southwest and Mexico, religious symbolism and folkart." from studio web site
Only two of us from our traveling group of eight happened upon this unique studio / museum, but I would now recommend the Red Barn Studio as being one of the highlights of Lindsborg's many attractions.
Without a doubt, our favorite thing to do in Lindsborg is visit the Sandzén gallery. On my most recent visit, I was joined by a group of friends, several with backgrounds in art. They enjoyed the gallery immensely, as did those with only a passing interest in art.
Swedish born artist, musician, and writer Birger Sandzén was a member of the faculty of Bethany College from 1894 to 1946, although he took temporary assignments in other colleges and universities. He preferred to stay in "little Lindsborg," which he loved. He was extremely prolific as an artist, turning out thousands of oil paintings alone, a large number of which are scenics from the midwest and the nearby Rocky Mountains. His style was big and bold, obviously influenced by the major impressionist painters.
I highly recommend a visit to this gallery.
The Swedish Pavilion from the World's Fair is the centrepiece of Heritage Square, a collection of old buildings and reconstructions that show the history of the town.
This photo is from 1998; since then they have sanded the wood back and repainted the building in its original colour (a mellow Dijon mustard hue).
The building now looks brand new, though built in 1904. 2004 saw a 100th anniversary celebration for the pavilion.
Once a year they fire up the old flour mill on the river nearby during a cooking festival which features a bake-off and other treats.
According to legend, the Spanish conquistador Coronado rode this far north to a prominent hilltop. Staring out across the empty acres of grassy hills, with no sign of any of those fabled Seven Golden Cities of Cibola, he turned around and dejectedly returned to Mexico.
Legend also says he killed his guide here for leading him on an apparent wild goose chase. Historians now say that if people reported seeing 'cities of gold' it may have been the mud bricks of pueblos glowing in the evening light.
That was almost 500 years ago. These days one of the buttes north of Lindsborg is crowned with a stone fortress called Coronado Heights. It's a fab picnic spot with stone benches and barbecues ringing the hilltop.
The views are remarkable and if you've got the hilltop to yourself the only sounds will be birdsong and the breeze blowing through the yucca. Aside from a few more trees and fenceposts, the view is probably identical to what Coronado saw.
Make this a "Things to Do" and a "Shopping" tip...
At the north end of the downtown section of town is Hemslöjd's (Swedish for handicraft) - a wonderful place to check out local (and imported) crafts, and to view the process of making dala (horses). Many purchase these horses with their family name on it and attach it to their home as a identifying welcome, as seen on a majority of homes in Lindsborg.
Lindsborg's colorful downtown is an adorable place to toodle around with its gift shops, art galleries, craft stores and restaurants!
The entire street is often treated like an exhibition space with public artworks, flowerpots and flags adding to the spectacle.
When there's a coach tour in town things can really get buzzing but you're still a long way from Branson or Vegas! ;)
You must go to Coronado Heights. Legend has it that Coronado the Spanish Explorer was first European to ever come here. He got to the top of this hill and looked on and saw more hills and wilderness so he turned back toward Mexico.
The view has changed since Coronado was there with the addition of a few farms but is still great. At top of the hill is a building that looks much like a small castle. From top of this building you can see for miles. The hill has picnic spots and is covered in wild flowers and yucca.
Visit the Smokey Valley Roller Mill. Once each year they turn on the machinery and run all the belts. The inside of the four story mill is full of wooden machines and belts. It is a marvel of engineering to see it in operation.