Now is the time. NOTO is the place.
The Redbud Festival runs through May 7.
“April is really our time where we really kick our feet up,” said Staci Dawn Ogle, program and communications coordinator for the NOTO Arts & Entertainment District. “The weather’s nice. We want to plan events in Redbud Park.”
NOTO runs events year round and has 57 planned for 2022.
“It really is a great way for us to activate our season of activities and the events we have going on,” Ogle said. “We don’t really do a whole lot in January and February, March is a little slow,” she said.
‘It really inspired us to put together a festival’
NOTO Redbud Festival was created after a Boy Scout planted 35 redbud trees throughout the district a few years ago.
About eight redbuds, native to the state of Kansas, were already established in the park. Ogle said.
“It really inspired us to put together a festival that will span over the weeks that our redbud trees are blooming,” she said. “And then year after year, as they grow, we will continue to build on it.”
Initially planned for 2020, the festival was postponed after COVID-19 reared its ugly head. The 2020 event was online instead. In 2021, the festival was celebrated for the first time in person with many of the activities held outdoors.
Many of the events this year are held in Redbud Park’s pavilion, which is a renovated barn in the park.
‘It’s more about creating scenarios that we can connect over’
Magician Curtis Sneden, who works for the Greater Topeka Partnership, will perform at 7 pm April 30 and 2 pm May 1 in the pavilion.
Starting as a childhood hobby, Sneden decided to perform publicly in his 40s. He has developed his art through the eyes of a middle-aged man.
“I don’t think of it as a just tricking the audiences,” he said. “It’s more about creating scenarios that we can connect over, considering the miracle that life is.”
“I have decided to introduce a routine that plays on the connection between science and magic,” he said. “We’ll spend some time hearing about Albert Einstein and how some of his ideas are downright magical.
“We’ll spend some time talking about the way magicians that were popular at the same time were revolutionizing science, namely Harry Houdini.”
Creating scenarios of what the audience expects to see, understanding the audiences’ assumptions, Sneden interacts with the audience, but no one will be sawed in two, and, although he did have a dove that did tricks for him years ago, he has no plans to pull rabbits out of hats.
Sneden won’t be revealing how things work, as it would rob the audience of its astonishment and his fellow magicians of material.
“My audiences typically laugh and gasp and repeat,” he said.
“If you study how the mind works, we really dig into how we actually use small portions of our brain consciously,” he said. “The type of things that could be achieved by using more are astonishing.”
Tickets for this show are $10 in advance or $12 at the door.
Ogle spoke with excitement regarding this year’s events.
Tthe pavilion will become an intimate theater for two weekends of the festival.
The Senior Class, which will perform at 7 pm April 9, features a comedy improv group. A special NOTO celebrity guest will also appear. Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door.
Grace Reader’s Theatre, at 2 pm April 10, will re-create two scripts from old time radio, complete with live sound effects. The program will consist of two half-hour skits, one drama and one comedy. Cost is $8 in advance, $10 at the door.
Nature in Art Workshops, held from 6 to 7:30 pm April 6, 13, 20 and 27 in Redbud Park, are free to the public and will introduce Kansas Nature through art exploration. They will include the following.
† Apr 6: Introduction to Color Transfer Pressing by Kathy Pflaum.
† Apr 13: Using Native Materials Through Art by Lisa LaRue-Baker.
† Apr 20: Introduction to Felting by Kathy Pflaum.
† Apr 27: Fabric Dyeing Using Natural Materials by Betsy Knabe Roe.
NOTO experts will share the secrets of their art, antiques or specialties in free presentations and demonstrations for four consecutive Saturdays starting April 9.
• Arts and Antiques: NOTO Show and Tell, 11:30 am to 12:30 pm April 9, 16, 30, and May 7.
Saturday Markets, 10 am to 3 pm will offer arts and crafts from local vendors.
A Redbud Blues Concert, featuring Ellie Smith and Ryan Verthein, will be from 6 to 8:30 pm April 15. This event is free and will be in the park pavilion on the Kaw Valley Park Stage depending on the weather. Concert goers are encouraged to bring a lawn chair and friends. No alcohol is permitted on park grounds.
The annual NOTO Chalk Walk will be May 6. The event is one for all ages. Those interested in competing for chance to win prizes may sign up at Amused Gallery.
Take a stroll through Redbud Park, experience live art
NOTO in Bloom, 6 to 9:30 pm April 23, a benefit for the NOTO Arts and Entertainment District endowment, offers guests a chance to take a stroll through Redbud Park, experiencing live art throughout the evening. A silent auction will be inside the pavilion.
Donors Stan and Jody Teeter have already contributed $10,000 toward the event.
Tickets are $65 and include food, two drink tickets and activities.
Those unable to attend the event, or who simply wish to donate to NOTO, can do so by calling (785) 408-8996 or visiting its website.
For more information, call (785) 408-8996.