Manhattan no longer goes dormant when Kansas State University’s academic year comes to an end, but it doesn’t take long after graduation to realize that the pace in our city has slowed.
In one of the unofficial beginnings of summer, the exodus of thousands of KSU students has again left our streets, our parking lots and many of our businesses less crowded. There’s still a noticeable student presence, though it will taper off further at the end of the month, and the city’s pace will slow a bit more.
Though the change of rhythm is enjoyable, the students will be missed. They brought conspicuous energy to just about everything they were involved in, from Fake Paddy’s Day to the volunteer work so many participate in that strengthens this community.
If summer is more sedate than the school year, it’s livelier than it once was. That’s attributable to the fact that the population has grown, to growth at Fort Riley and to the many students who make Manhattan their home year-round.
And just as the school year has its own cadence with events like football on fall Saturdays, so does summer in Manhattan. Among highlights in June are Manhattan Day, which falls on June 2 this year, and, of course, the Country Stampede — the four-day country music festival that brings enough fans to town to keep the community on its toes and cash registers humming. June also marks the beginning of a series of youth camps, the best known of which is the American Legion’s Boys State.
No sooner does July come around than we celebrate America’s independence and renew our annual fireworks debate; that month wraps up with a huge dose of Americana, the Riley County Fair.
There’s more — lots more. Regular events include weekly performances by the Manhattan Municipal Band and a succession of Arts in the Park concerts in City Park. The city’s impressive new pools will offer relief from the heat on a daily basis, and ball fields will be packed with Parks and Recreation-sponsored teams for both youth and adults as well as the more competitive traveling youth teams. Those “seasons” typically end in mid to late July, which leaves time for family vacations before thoughts turn again to school.
These wonderful pastimes will have to wait just a little longer — at least until elementary and secondary schools get out for the summer. We’re guessing that for students and teachers alike, that won’t happen soon enough.