It’s typically pretty quiet in Elk Falls, that is, until the Friday and Saturday before Thanksgiving rolls around. That’s when folks from near and far descend on this tiny Elk Co. community to tour their…outhouses! And November 21 – 22 marks the 19th annual Outhouse Tour, a part of the larger Fall Open House that began way back in 1980. Festivities now include the Quilt Show and Harvest Handcrafts, both located at Calvary Chapel on Highway 160, folk music by singer songwriter Clint Gilbert on Friday, bluegrass music on Saturday by “Reach for the Sky” from Wichita and Elk Falls Pottery’s Open House at their future home and ongoing restoration project at the Rock Garden.
Anyone who has not seen Maude Frakes’ historic Rock Garden in Elk Falls, will find it worth the trip alone. Elk Falls Pottery is transforming the barn of this 1896 farmstead into their new studio and display gallery. Also displaying their work at the Rock Garden this year will be the Mitchell family with native wood birdhouses and boxes and demonstrating blacksmith Mark Palmer. The Prairie Gem one room schoolhouse, a restoration project of the Friends of Elk Falls will also be open displaying part of the Homer Allison Outhouse Collection and providing free “gas” for the tour!
Of course, all that activity can work up quite an appetite. Everything from homemade apple dumplings, 10 kinds of pie, and hot spiced cider to walking tacos, chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes and chili with honey cornbread to name but a few of the delicious culinary delights, will be available around town.
Yes, there are more significant issues in our world today, but just for the day, take a reminiscent and humorous stroll down the outhouse-lined streets of small town America and enjoy some rural Kansas hospitality – Elk Falls style. “The Outhouse Capital of the World!”