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Capper Project Dedication Set for July 24


By the Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation


Hutchinson, Kan — The Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation, along with the Kansas State Fair set the date for the dedication of the Capper Project for Monday, July 24, 2023 at 3 PM at the House of Capper on the Kansas State Fairgrounds.

The dedication will celebrate the rebuilding of the House of Capper and the opening of the Capper Cooperative Park, along with the support received from cooperatives throughout Kansas and the United States in the development of this historically significant project for the Kansas State Fair and the State of Kansas.

Set for Monday, July 24 at 3 PM, the dedication will officially open the House of Capper and the Capper Cooperative Park which will serve as a permanent and continual tribute and educational outreach highlighting the work of former Kansas Governor and U.S. Senator Arthur Capper and the significant impact of cooperatives to our state and our country.

The Capper Project has been designed and built as a longstanding celebration of cooperative principle; to educate youth and adults on the importance of cooperatives to the community and the country. Cooperatives which are also known as co-ops, are unique businesses that provide value to the people who use their services. A cooperative is a business owned and democratically controlled by the people who use its services and whose benefits are derived and distributed equitably on the basis of use. 

The House of Capper, the building portion of the project, has been constructed in the same architectural style and design as the original building, funded by the Capper Publications, on behalf of the Kansas Governor Arthur Capper in 1916. Thanks to Schaefer Architecture, Wichita, Kansas for the design work on the project which held fast to the original style while incorporating modern improvements and requirements.

The Capper Cooperative Park leads into the House of Capper. The Park is an educational walk-through park consisting of an inviting landscape design and multiple lighted graphic storyboards which tell the story of cooperatives in the United States, commemorates the Capper-Volstead Act of 1922, and the work of U.S. Senator Arthur Capper. The storyboards have been expertly designed and written with images and information that communicate the vital work cooperatives have done and continue to do in our communities.

The Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation, chartered in 2003 with the mission: To inspire excellence and understanding of Kansas agriculture, industry and culture through the Kansas State Fair, activities, educational programs and opportunities. While the purpose of the Foundation is: To further the renovation, construction, preservation and beautification of the Kansas State Fairgrounds; to help, assist, promote, support, maintain, enhance, endow and advance the interests of the Kansas State Fair: and to encourage education of the public about the Kansas State Fair and its purpose and activities.

Following the cancellation of the 2020 Kansas State Fair, the Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation grew its commitment to help renovate and improve the Kansas State Fairgrounds for the betterment of the community and the State of Kansas. With the House of Capper being deemed structurally unsound in the spring of 2021, the Foundation accepted the challenge of rebuilding it. The Foundation knew that to find funding partners for the project it needed to be more significant to potential funders than rebuilding a historic structure on the Fairgrounds. When looking at the work of Arthur Capper it was noted that he co-authored the Capper-Volstead Act of 1922, which allowed for the legal formation of cooperatives in the United States. This became the perfect tie to potential funding partners to help tell the cooperative story. The Capper Project was created to rebuild a historic structure and to create the only permanent tribute to the work of cooperatives in the United States in what is now named the Capper Cooperative Park located on the Kansas State Fairgrounds.

This project was first presented to the Kansas Cooperative Council in September of 2021, who immediately came on board as a Builder Level donor at $100,000 or more. In addition to the financial support, the Cooperative Council pledged their support in helping to promote the project to their member cooperatives across the State of Kansas and the country. This project came to fruition because of the financial support of the Kansas Cooperative Council and cooperatives from the state and the region. Additional Builder Level funders include Skyland Grain, LLC, ProValue Insurance, the Kansas Department of Commerce through the SPRINT Grant and the Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation.

The dedication of the Capper Project will take place on Monday, July 24 at 3 PM at the House of Capper on the Kansas State Fairgrounds located at 2000 N. Poplar Street, Hutchinson, Kansas 67502. The program will include remarks offered by Paula Landoll Smith, President, Kansas State Fair Board; Mary McCurry, Chairman, Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation; and Brandi Miller, President and CEO, Kansas Cooperative Council. In addition, the Hutchinson Chamber of Commerce will do a ribbon cutting to signify the opening of the Capper Cooperative Park as a new and featured educational exhibit for the 2023 Kansas State Fair as well as open year-round for all non-fair events and activities. 

The public is invited to the dedication ceremony. However, the Foundation asks that you RSVP your intentions to attend to [email protected] or by calling 620-615-7388.

The Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation has many projects in need of funding that will help bring growth and improvement to the Kansas State Fairgrounds. If you are interested in discussing how you, your company or organization might be a part of future improvements on the Kansas State Fairgrounds, please contact the Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation at 620-615-7388 office or email [email protected]