Hays, Ellis County Set to Roll Out Welcome Mat for Fans and Families

Several years of planning and work will culminate in the biggest Kansas Shrine Bowl weekend ever on July 27 and 28, when the annual event makes its second appearance in Hays.
"We were very excited when we got the news that the Kansas Shrine Bowl Board had accepted our bid for this year's game," says Janet Kuhn, Convention Marketing Manager of the Hays Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Our planning for the game has been going on for a few years, and people have been working tirelessly since the announcement to get ready." This year's game will be the first in Hays since 1997.
This year's Shrine Bowl weekend will include the traditional events associated with the game, including the Shrine Bowl Banquet on Friday, July 27 and the annual Shrine Parade the morning of game day, Saturday, July 28. This year, several events have been added to the traditional lineup. They include an Arts and Crafts Fair, a 5K run, a Fun Run/Walk, a Kid's Fair, a High School Combine, a football coach's clinic, a Charity Poker Run, and a clinic to examine children to determine if they might be candidates for care at Shriners Hospitals.
"We think these events will appeal to a lot of families," says Kuhn. "We're hoping to attract more folks besides players and band members and their families to Hays for the weekend."
The Shrine Bowl will be one of the year's biggest events in Hays in 2007. Other large events already hosted by the city this year included the Society of American Germans from Russia, and the Wild West

Festival, a 4-day event around the 4th of July that attracted upwards of 10,000 people to concerts by various national recording artists.
Kuhn says that Hays is also accustomed to holding sports events that involved many people from across the State. The city hosts the Kansas High School Activities Association 1A Boys and Girls state basketball tournaments at Ft. Hays State each March. The City of Hays and the University also play host to 2A and 1A state volleyball tournaments, and 3-2-1A state wrestling tournaments.
Kuhn says the Shrine Bowl will have a significant economic impact on Hays and surrounding communities. "It will be well into six figures." she says, "but we won't know the exact numbers until the
Shrine Bowl is over." Nevertheless, the game and the events attached to it will be a boon to motels, restaurants, gas stations, and other businesses in Hays, WaKeeny, Ellis, Victoria, and Russell. Kuhn says that at least 100 local residents have volunteered to help during Shrine Bowl Activities. She expects that number to grow as the big weekend gets closer.
Visitors to Hays will find several local attractions, including Historic Ft. Hays (established in 1865), the Sternburg Museum of Natural History, the Ellis County Historical Society Museum, and a revitalized downtown area called the Chestnut Street District, that includes several specialty stores and restaurants, including a microbrewery. More information what to do in Hays can be found online at www.haysusa.net.
Proceeds from the event support the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children, a network of 22 hospitals that provide expert, no-cost orthopedic and burn care to children under 18. Children are admitted totally free to Shriners Hospitals for Children without regard for race, religion, nationality, creed, or relationship to a Shriner.
The 2007 Kansas Shrine Bowl will be the most family-friendly ever, with several events taking place during the day. Planned events include a 5K Run for Charity, a day-long Arts and Crafts Fair, a Kid's Fair, the annual Kansas Shrine Bowl Parade, a high school football combine, and a Charity Poker Run that will include cash and prizes.
Advance reserved chairback tickets for the all-star game are $20.00 in advance, $21.00 on game night. Adult general admission tickets are $9.00 in advance, $10.00 on game night. Student tickets (K-12) are $5.00 in advance, $6.00 on game night. Banquet tickets are $20.00, and must be purchased in advance. Additional information and tickets can be purchased through the Shrine Bowl office by calling 1-800-530-5524.

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