Buster Keaton Festival
Buster Keaton is one of the great film geniuses. His silent film brilliance is commemorated, studied, and enjoyed the last weekend in September at the internationally known Buster Keaton celebration.
Born in 1895 seven miles west of Iola in Piqua, Iola celebrates its local legend in workshops, talks from experts, and in viewing's of his work. The festival has featured such guests as Keaton's widow, Eleanor Keaton, Jim Karnin, Leonard Maltin and Steve Allen. The talented Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra often accompanies the showing of Keaton's films. Other silent film stars such as Fatty Arbuckle, Mary Pickford, Laurel and Hardy, and Charlie Chaplin have been featured in the past in addition to Keaton.
This celebration is held the second weekend in October. It features a carnival on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On Saturday the square is alive with a variety of activities and displays including a parade, car show, quilt display, artists' roundup, and crafts show. Food, commercial booths, artisan demonstrations and musical entertainment are found in abundance. Games and entertainment are available for all ages.
Allen County Fair
The Allen County Fair is a highlight for much of the city during the month of August. The fair allows people to gather to show and enjoy local talents of the community.
For the musically inclined, country and gospel concerts are available. Vocal and talent contests exhibit various abilities of residents of Southeast Kansas. Others talents focus less on performance and display gifts in various other areas such as entomology, gardening, woodworking, photography, arts and crafts, rocketry, farm products, and livestock. Many participate in the fair as members of 4-H. A rodeo, demolition derby, and tractor and horse pulls are local favorites. Although some of the entertainers and events change from year to year, the tradition of the over a hundred year old fair lives on.