Wichita, you complain a lot. Stop it. Let's take a minute to think about a few of the things that make our city great. It's Thanksgiving, and we have plenty to be thankful for.
Final Friday in Wichita used to feel it was just for the art community, but now it’s a full-fledged Wichita thing. If you're not familiar, Final Friday is an art crawl that happens on the last Friday of every month. It's mainly located in Old Town, Downtown, the Design District and Delano.
Viewing local art is still the focus, but while wandering galleries, bars, shops and museums, you get to meet new people, run into old friends and socialize without spending a dollar. In fact, you’ll often run across free snacks, demonstrations and live music. It’s a good time, and we’re lucky to have something so cool catch on. Keep it up ICT.
A Complete Lack of Traffic Congestion
Channel 12, I'm talking to you. Why, why, why oh why, do you have a traffic report every morning? We know Millie isn't up that early, and there are only so many weather teases you can do, but do we really need a traffic report? We see those traffic cam images you put up. There are no cars in those pictures. There's no congestion in the east bound lane. That fender bender hasn't "snarled" traffic. It's time to let it go guys. Let it go and do a report on something we really need... pot hole conditions.
To be fair, we have some traffic. But rush hour isn't a guarantee stop-and-go situation like a lot of cities. Most days you can get anywhere in town in less than 20 minutes, rarely ever going under the speed limit. Kellogg is so clear that Wichita Police actually hand out speeding tickets to drivers going over the posted 60 mph... sometimes well over.
A 2015 traffic study showed that a typical Washington D.C. area commuter spent more than 82 hours in traffic delays each year. Ponder that next time you hit that really long light at Central and Rock. Tolerable traffic is one of those things you don't really appreciate day-to-day, but we have it pretty good. Now if we could just teach everyone how to use turn signals. (Signal BEFORE you brake.)
Wichita has lost some big name companies to other cities over the years. Pizza Hut, Coleman and Viega to name a few. It’s easy to say ‘good riddance’, but after losing a few, it’s really nice to have a win.
When Cargill was shopping for new headquarters locations in 2016, many people were worried they’d move outside of Wichita.
Cargill not only decided to keep more than 800 jobs in downtown Wichita, they announced they’d be putting up a brand new building on Douglas. We should be thankful Cargill not only decided to stay, but also for a big investment in downtown.
Now, I'm a little embarrassed to ask, but does anyone know what they do at Cargill? Something with cars right? Cars that can breathe underwater?
Keeper Of The Plains... It's Rad
It's easy to take this landmark for granted when you see it so often. It's been on shirts, TV commercials, bumper stickers and in the background of senior portraits and engagement photos for decades. But the Keeper is an awesome statue. It has an actual ring of fire, which grants it instant awesome status. The Keeper is also a nice reminder of our history, and a unique symbol of Wichita. Not every city has such a memorable icon. Des Moines, what do you have? Tulsa (is it that oil thing?)? Topeka? When you see the Keeper, you think Wichita.
I know, half of you HATE it. But, give it another chance. We miss the bathtub races, and the fireworks show isn't as big as it once was. But that's fine, because the live music the past few years has more than made up for it. This year, Dave Chappelle showed up to introduce the Roots! In Wichita. It happened.
Riverfest is just part of being a Wichitan. It's a cheap, week-long festival full of junk food, live music and hands-down the best people watching in the world. It's a great time of the year to be outside mingling with thousands of people who need a break from Netflix shows and Xbox updates.
The brewery scene in Wichita has exploded. Locally owned, locally crafted and often locally sourced, this new beer culture has inspired entrepreneurship, creativity and fine craftsmanship. These are all things that Wichita is historically know for, and it's great to see that spirit thriving.
The Hopping Gnome, Central Standard Brewing, Aero Plains Brewing are a few of the newer spots. They all have great beer and a nice local vibe. Even if you don't love beer, they're all great places to hangout.
People often say Wichita is a "city" with a "town" feel. Maybe that's it, maybe it's just good Midwest upbringing. Either way, be thankful Wichitans are friendly. A 'good morning', a door held, a thank you wave does a lot to brighten your day. Those are the norm in this town/city. Don't forget about those turn signals. (Signal BEFORE you brake.)