1. If you are afraid of storms, don’t come during “Tornado Season”.
If Kansas is known for anything, it’s that we get tornados (thanks, Wizard of Oz). One day it will be 70 degrees out, a nice warm, sunshiny day, and the next it could be snowing with a tornado on the side. However, if you do come to visit Kansas and are not wanting to wait in a basement half of your trip because of the continuous tornado sirens, I would avoid coming to Kansas during May and the beginning of June, as well as the fall months of September through the beginning of November. Tornado Season is nothing new to Kansans, so if you do come during those months, do not be surprised if you see people on their porch looking at the sky instead of their basements.
2. Most of us are just as appalled by the Westboro Baptist Church as you probably are.
Kansas is only about 51% religious throughout the whole state, which is slightly above the national average for the whole country. However, while Kansas in general shows support for all religions, most people here are appalled by the Westboro Baptist Church, located in Topeka. Westboro followers have been known to picket against funerals (notably ones who were in the military or famous), concerts, other churches, colleges, and many more. While it is easy to get angry at these people (and believe us, we get angry), Kansans have learned that the best way to beat them is to ignore them. Their leader, Fred Phelps, who has since passed, was a lawyer and his followers became lawyers as well, making it simple to create cases of civil suit of people trying to ban them from protesting. If you see them out, try to overlook them the best you can, because they will take just about anything to get a lawsuit and make some money.
3. Do not tell a Kansan that Kansas is boring.
We will fire back and prove you wrong. Most people just see the miles and miles of wheat and corn fields, but if you open your eyes and explore the state you’ll find the Flint Hills rolling along the interstate. In the fall the leaves change and in the spring it’s actually interesting to see the farmers burn the fields. Then there’s the sunflower fields in Lawrence where people love to get lost and take tons of pictures. We’ve got the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets over golden fields of wheat and dusty roads you will ever see. And in Kansas City, there’s the hundreds of fountains glistening in the summertime sun. Kansas may seem simple to outsiders, but we promise you, it is never boring.
4. Kansas childrens’ education is in serious jeopardy.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback leads legislation in budgeting the state and in the last 5 years Kansas has gone broke. Now the children are the ones who will be affected the most. The Kansas Supreme Court is threatening to close down schools coming fall of 2016 unless the Kansas Legislator budgets fairly between poorer and wealthier school districts; the people of Kansas are worried. Teachers have been using every resource they can to stop schools from closing and parents are worried of what will happen to their children if the schools do not open. So, if you do visit Kansas, be aware that Kansans know that they are the joke of the country right now, and if you mention Gov. Brownback, you might get an eye roll or if it’s a teacher, an angry lecture.
5. Kansas City is in both Kansas and Missouri.
Kansas City is probably the only city outsiders know about in Kansas. However, most people do not know that Kansas City is split down the middle by the Missouri River, placing it in two states: Kansas and Missouri. If you ask locals which side of the River is the best, you will get different answers — each side believes that their side of the city is the best. However, both take pride in the whole city and how much it has grown in the last decade. You should visit both sides of the river and decide for yourself. On the Kansas side you will get to experience the best barbeque with our famous “Burnt Ends”.
6. We don’t all live in the country or on farmland.
Yes, a majority of Kansas is farmland and we are very proud of our farmers who work year around just to put food on everyone’s plate. However, there is so much more to Kansas than our wheat fields and cows. The major cites Kansas City, Wichita, and Lawrence offer great experiences of art, music, and great food. For the smaller towns, there are usually historical sites to visit and locals will show you some good hospitality. And for those who do live on farms, they will be glad to educate you on farming techniques and how they live their daily lives. If you do a day’s work, you will learn fast that it is not for the weak.
7. Keep your Wizard of Oz jokes to yourself.
We’ve heard it all before. The first few times you hear Wizard of Oz jokes and references when you are a kid it’s funny, then it just gets annoying. Kansans will go along with it, but don’t expect them to laugh. Most will likely give you a tight-lipped smile and nod their head or say “never heard that before”. If you really like the movie, there is a museum and winery in Wamego, KS all about the Wizard of Oz. Otherwise, keep the puns to yourself when visiting Kansas.