For its 23rd year, the Amelia Earhart Festival will take to the ground and sky for summertime thrills and entertainment.
The concert is a highlight of the 23rd Annual Amelia Earhart Festival, which will be held in the hometown of the world famous aviatrix Friday and Saturday, July 20 and 21.
The concert will kick off with the annual country music-tinged concert, Lakefest 2019. The annual concert is held in the park surrounding Warnock Lake, 17862 274th Road, which is three miles southwest of Atchison. The gates open at 4 p.m., when food concessions also will open. The national anthem opens the show at 7 p.m.
LakeFest will feature headliner Kip Moore with openers Devin Dawson and Kylie Morgan.
“It’s huge for a community the size of ours to bring in national talent like we do. It’s the best bargain concert of the summer,” said Jacque Pregont, Amelia Earhart Festival coordinator.
With a number of hits, including “Somethin’ ’Bout A Truck,” “Last Shot” and “More Girls Like You,” Kip Moore’s gravelly voice mixed with country, pop and rock sensibilities earned praise from publications like Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone.
Opening for Moore, California native Devin Dawson already has a number of high-profile spots, warming up for acts such as Tim McGraw and Brett Eldredge. He scored his first platinum plaque with the breezy hit “All On Me” and released his debut album, “Dark Horse,” in 2018.
Arriving fresh from her signing with the record label UMG Nashville, one of the biggest country music labels in the world, Kylie Morgan will be giving Atchison the first taste of her music. While she records her debut album, she tested the waters with the slow-burning ballad “Easy To Forget.”
Tickets on the day of the concert will be $35. Pregont said those low prices are all thanks to Lakefest’s supporters.
“The reason it is (low) is because we have so many sponsors that want to keep those ticket prices down as far as we can,” she said.
The festival continues on Saturday, July 20, with a day full of events, including a carnival, fly-in at the Amelia Earhart Airport from 8 a.m. to noon, a speakers’ symposium at 10:15 a.m. at Benedictine College, children’s activities from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in downtown Atchison, a birthday party for Amelia, food, crafts and music on the riverfront.
While many of these activities are annual features of the festival, Pregont said they will have a special presentation with guests from the Emerald Isle. Nicole McElhinney and Brona Sharkey, members of the Amelia Earhart Legacy Association of Derry, Northern Ireland, and Grace McGuire, a pilot and Amelia Earhart look-alike, who flew from London to Londonderry, will speak at a special symposium at 10:15 a.m. on Saturday.
“We’re going to focus at our symposium on Amelia being the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic — what that meant then for women and what it means today to Derry that she has such a lasting impression,” Pregont said.
To have international guests is something special for both the festival and to show the magnitude of Earhart’s inspiration.
“These ladies are part of an organization that does a lot to keep her history and her story alive over there. We’re excited to bring them over here and kind of get a different take on what Amelia can mean to a community,” Pregont said.
The Amelia Earhart Museum, located at 223 N. Terrace St. will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $1 for children 12 and younger. There also will be historical church tours at Trinity Episcopal Church, 300 S. Fifth St., from 1 to 4 p.m.
Atchison’s County Museum will feature the temporary exhibit “All About Bones.” The exhibit will highlight the information about the recent research related to the set of bones found in 1941 on a deserted Pacific island.
The celebration will conclude with a fireworks show beginning Saturday night after the aerobatics show at 7:55 p.m. The presentation will be orchestrated to music by Paul Austin and Stellar Fireworks Inc.
Pregont said she’s always excited by the response the festival gets from people all around the world. Their interest in exploring Earhart’s hometown is something that always astounds her.
“It’s a signature event for our community, which is a big deal. To have the history that you base a big event on is even more important,” she said.
— Andrew Gaug | St. Joe Live