Harveyville Fair Pays Tribute To Heroes, Life Lost

By: Giang Nguyen Email
By: Giang Nguyen Email

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Harveyville's 75th Annual Fair was dedicated to heroes near and far.

'We want to recognize those that had come out to volunteer their time and efforts to clean up with the disaster that was presented on February 28," Jana Phillips, co-president of the Harveyville Fair Association, said.

The town of about 250 was hit by an EF-2 tornado that day. Residents lost one of their own in the devastation.

A Harveyville Tornado Memorial was dedicated on Saturday, just after noon.

"It's in memory of Rick Slade, who's a life-long resident that we've lost in the tornado," mayor Dustin Kuntz said.

"It's a tribute to remember the hard times that we went through, a way to honor and remember all those who came and volunteered to help our community in those tough days and every day since."

He said despite the devastating setback to the community, nobody ever once considered not having the fair.

"We wanted everyone to come out and have fun and know that that wasn't going to stop us."

Organizers crowned the Harveyville Royalty -- among them was Emma Slade, a granddaughter of Harveyville's only tornado victim.

Kuntz said Harveyville has lost a few dozen residents since the storm, who have moved out of town for financial or emotional reasons. But he says he hopes visitors to the fair see Harveyville as a great place to live.

"I'm hoping there's a family that maybe wants to build in our community , buy an empty lot, live in a brand new street," he said. "Maybe it'll be a real opportunity for a family come be a part of our community."

"The visitors that come and see, we hope that they're able to notice that you can rebuild, you will survive after a disaster. " Phillips added. "People come together and it's a wonderful feeling."

"We're gonna continue on just as the last 75 years that we've continued on and we will 75 years from today," she said.

631 SW Commerce Pl. Topeka, Kansas 66615 phone: 785-272-6397 fax: 785-272-1363 email: feedback@wibw.com
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