Mulvane Old Settlers 2019

This image will appear on commemorative buttons at the 2019 Mulvane Old Settlers Days festival. The design, which celebrates the centennial anniversary of the American Legion, was submitted by Shelley Holladay. 

Mulvane’s oldest and largest annual event, Mulvane Old Settlers Days, will return next weekend with a patriotic theme.

The festival is held the third weekend of each August, this year from Aug. 16 to Aug. 18. The 2019 theme is “Centennial of Honor,” representing 100 years since the American Legion was founded in the United States.

Mulvane’s American Legion post is one of the oldest in the nation. The Paul Stewart Irwin Post 136 was first granted a temporary charter in November 1919, only months after the very first post was chartered in Washington, D.C.

The post was named after the first military member from Mulvane to die in World War I, according to the official American Legion website.

Often called the longest running annual celebration in Kansas, this year’s MOS Days will be the 146th. It was first held as a community picnic in 1873, evolving across decades to its current state as new events were continually added.

MOS Days President Jerry Bachman credits the hard work of the festival’s chairpeople and officers, who help plan the festival, for its continued success.

“They just do a super job,” he said. “That’s what makes it go.”

Fan-favorite events from MOS Days will return this year, including the kids and turtle races, quilt show, rod run and talent showcase.

The Mulvane Historical Society will host a concert at 7 p.m. Friday at Cobb Park with Reach For the Sky, an acoustic bluegrass band.

Saturday is the main day of the festival, kicking off at 11 a.m. with the annual parade, a centerpiece in the celebration. Featuring floats from local businesses, churches and community organizations, the parade follows a one-mile route from First and Main to Second and English.

Bachman, president of MOS Days for 13 years, remembers riding five-plus miles into town on a pony as a child to participate in the parade. He attended Mulvane schools but lived outside of town in the country.

“And I’ve been going ever since,” he said with a hearty laugh. “It’s just tremendous.”

Now 82, Bachman says he looks forward to seeing the 150th festival. A highlight for him is getting to watch the same parade he rode in for so many years.

The annual horseshoe tournament will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at the American Legion post, 410 SE Louis Blvd. Only a doubles tournament will be held this year. Entry is $7 and registration begins at 11 a.m.

A couple hours later, local residents will show off their various gifts, including singing, dancing and beyond at the talent showcase. Each contestant will be limited to a five-minute performance time. The showcase is set for 3 p.m. Saturday at Main Street Park.

The annual MOS Days rodeo will be held at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Mulvane Rodeo Arena, 325 S. Boxelder Ave. Events include a ranch-style saddle bronc, bull-riding, team-roping, and steer wrestling.

The commemorative button design, entirely in black and white, depicts the number 100, with a United States flag in the first zero and a saluting military member in the second. It was submitted by Shelley Holladay.

MOS Days attendees can buy a themed button for $2 at the gate or at several Mulvane businesses. Buttons are not required for entry, but any person who buys one will have his or her name entered for a special prize drawing.

Bachman said the festival has sold out of its buttons in the past two years.

Prizes include two $500 gas cards, a $1,000 Visa card, a flat-screen television and half a hog. The drawing will occur at 5 p.m. Saturday at Main Street Park.