Open Streets ICT: A Dunkin’ Good Time

By Tram Ngo

Ever wanted to dunk the Mayor, Police Chief or a City Council Member or two? Well we’ve lined up your opportunity at Open Streets ICT on Sunday, Sept. 23.

“What is Open Streets ICT?” you might be asking. Open Streets ICT is a FREE (we all love free) community-building event that closes a usually busy street to traffic and opens it for biking, walking, running, dancing, yoga and more. All Wichitans (that means you!) are invited to join the fun and to stop at local Douglas Avenue businesses, restaurants, street vendors and activity hubs. The goal of Open Streets ICT is to promote the interaction of local businesses and organizations with the community to help strengthen the connections in Wichita. You can check out the website here for more information.

You might also be asking, “Why is the Chamber participating?” Well because why not?! The Chamber’s mission is to drive economic growth and community advancement in the Wichita region, so the mission of Open Streets ICT falls right in line with what we want to accomplish for our community. This is the second year the Chamber has participated in the event and you can see photos from last year’s activities on our Facebook album.

This year, we’re ready for a dunking-good time. $5 will get you three shots at sending one of the individuals listed below into a dunk tank. All proceeds will go to United Way of the Plains, so be sure to come see us in front of our building at 350 W. Douglas. Let us know you’re coming by RSVPing to the Facebook event!

Dunk Tank Schedule
1:30 p.m. – Jeff Longwell, Mayor of the City of Wichita
2:00 p.m. – Gordon Ramsay – Chief of Wichita Police Department
2:30 p.m. – Pete Meitzner – City Council member of District 2
3:00 p.m. – Jeff Blubaugh – City Council member of District 4

Interested in checking out the Wichita Flag murals along Douglas that day? Download the free izi.TRAVEL app (search for Wichita Flag Murals –Downtown Wichita, Kansas) to access an audio guide and digital map.

Winners of the 3rd Annual Photo Contest Named

There were 250 entries in the 2018 contest.

Your Wichita flag was photographed in 30 states in the U.S.A. and in 25 different countries around the world during the third annual #wichitaflagsummertravelcontest. There were 250 entries using the hashtag between June 14 (National Flag Day) and August 17. That’s quite a jump up from the 173 contest entries in 2017 and the 52 entries in 2016.

Our city’s flag was photographed at events ranging for the World Cup Soccer Match in Russia to a soccer tourney in Colorado. And there were images submitted with well-known international landmarks ranging from the Eiffel Tower in Paris to the Great Wall of China and the Fierce Girl sculpture on New York’s Wall Street.

Wichita flag tats, stickers, glassware, patches, hats, luggage tags, headbands, jewelry, beach towels, magnets, cups and shirts made it into the entry images. This year more Wichita flag hand-painted rocks made the rounds than previous years with 15 photo entries—in 4 different countries and 4 different states.

More highlights:

-U.S.A. mainland entries ranged from as far north as Alaska to the country’s southernmost point in Key West, Florida.
-Wichita flag fans who reside in Arizona, Colorado, Maryland, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, and Spain entered the contest.
-Colorado was the most photographed state with 37 entries, including the summit of 4  popular 14ers.

One of this year’s contest winners is Brian Alvarez who is a flag fan and a frequent traveler. Brian said, “It’s been so amazing traveling around and posing with the flag, while people come up and ask about it. Then it turns into questions about Wichita. It’s great to promote Wichita to the outer world. I’ve received messages from numerous people asking where they can buy a flag or the Wichita flag T-shirts I wear. It’s been great.”

So without further delay, here are your 2018 winners.

MOST LIKES – This pic of a miniature flag fan enjoying a Myrtle Beach vacation in South Carolina drew the most likes and was posted by @reneeb_10.

BEST BLACK & WHITE PHOTO – A unique image from @moderndayhobo at Chichen Itza was posted from Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

BEST FAMILY PHOTO – The Grover family represented Wichita at Walt Disney World. They each wore a different flag-themed shirt from The Workroom. Entry by @katie_grover.MOST GIRL POWER – Two fearless girls in New York City were pictured in this popular entry from @paradocsbrewery.
ENTRIES FROM MOST LOCATIONS – Where’s Brian? Brian Alvarez covered the map this summer, posing with the flag in France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the U.S.A. Check out his unique travel photos at @balvarez27.

MOST ATHLETIC – Running the Rocky Mountain 5K and a half marathon at Estes Park in two days was no problem for these flag fashionistas. Entry from @sara_salerno1213.

BEST FASHION STATEMENT – This image posted by @srains1 provided a new fashion accessory for a replica of Michelangelo’s David found in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy. 

BEST STAYCATION – The @delano_dollies submitted this entry, all while kicking up their heels and performing at Old Cowtown Museum.

MOST REMOTE LOCATION – Wake Island is one of the most remote islands in the world. It’s a coral atoll in the western Pacific Ocean primarily used for military aircraft refueling. This entry is from @ramblinmanjosh.

A special shout out to past Chamber Board President Debbie Gann for her family’s travel contest post from their trip to Alaska (below left) and to incoming Chamber Board President, Michael Monteferrante, for submitting an entry from Puerto Vallarta in Mexico (below right).

 

 

 

 

And thanks to all who spread flag fever this summer with their staycation and vacation photos. Check out other entries by searching #wichitaflagsummertravelcontest and keep tagging @wichitaflag with your social media posts.

7 Ways to Celebrate Wichita’s Birthday

The 148th anniversary of Wichita’s incorporation is this Saturday, July 21. We encourage everyone to find a way to celebrate our city and have offered several recommendations below. Tell us how you’re celebrating on Twitter by using #ILoveWichita.

Attend a Birthday Celebration

  • The Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum is providing free
    admission on Saturday if you bring a Birthday card for Wichita.
  • Known as LevelUP, several community groups are transforming
    a not-so-typical parking garage into a vibrant, curated showcase
    of Wichita at 215 S. Market.
  • The Wichita Art Museum is hosting a Birthday Bash to celebrate
    the city’s anniversary as well as the Museum’s 83rd birthday.
  • Host your own birthday bash by offering a discount or service for
    people wearing flag swag and promote it via social media.

The flag is a common sight in College Hill neighborhoods. Photo from Tillie’s Flower Shop.

Wave Your #WichitaFlag
Gone are the days when only a handful of businesses and homes were flying the city’s official flag. Wichitans are showing their pride at home, school and work by flying their favorite civic symbol and tagging @WichitaFlag on social media. Don’t own a flag, yet? Find a list of local vendors that can set you up with various sizes of flags at ilovewichita.org.

Support a Local Artist
Stumped about how to mark a special occasion for a friend, family member or co-worker? Purchase some flag wearables or art. The variety and quantity of creative folk and commercial art that Wichitans are creating is dazzling. Check the @WichitaFlag accounts and look for the flag swag listing on ilovewichita.org.

This mural can be found at 350 W. Douglas.

Visit a Mural
Wouldn’t it be flagtastic to have a guide to all the Wichita flag-themed murals in the downtown area? The Chamber offers a PDF guide for the three-mile stretch of Douglas Avenue between Clifton Avenue and S. Osage Street (download at ilovewichita.org).

Rather go green? Then download the izi.travel app and look for the Wichita Flag Murals – Downtown Wichita, Kansas tour. There are both audio and readable versions of the tour, which includes 28 different murals on or near Douglas Avenue.

Display #ILoveWichita for All to See
Share what you love about our city on social media using #ILoveWichita, use your organization’s digital signage to share your pride, or add a #ILoveWichita decal to the front door of your company of organization (Contact Courtney Sendall to learn how to get a decal).

Heather Feist (@honeyfeist) and friends spent their friend-cation in matching flag tanks at Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

Participate in the #WichitaFlagSummerTravelContest
Take the Wichita flag on your summer vacation and enter to win. Just follow @WichitaFlag on Instagram and post your original photos on Instagram of you repping ICT. Tag your location, use #WichitaFlagSummerTravelContest, and be part of spreading the Wichita love.

Show Your Wichita Colors
Grab a copy of today’s Wichita Eagle to cut and color a Wichita flag coloring sheet, or download a two-sided version from ilovewichita.org.

More #ILoveWichita Events and Promotions in 2018

2018 Chamber Chairman Bill Wood threw out the first pitch at the June 6 Wichita Wingnuts game and modeled the Wichita flag jerseys the team will wear on June 9.

The #ilovewichita movement has been making some measurable progress since it was initiated in 2015. The informal grassroots “pride in place” campaign is centered around the promotion of the city’s official flag and a hashtag proposed by the Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW). Collaborations with area businesses, media outlets, and other partners have resulted in a positive platform and a powerful microphone for those who believe in collaborating to create the best possible future for our region.

Measurable Results
Last year the Chamber’s Quality of Place committee recommended leveraging the ongoing social media campaign in telling Wichita’s success stories and improving perceptions of the region’s quality of place. The committee’s chair, Ben Hutton, challenged Chamber Board members to apply an #ilovewichita decal to their front door to show community support and to use the same hashtag in their company and personal Twitter postings. He also extended the challenge to Chamber members.

The number of #ilovewichita Tweets has grown significantly since 2015.

The result was a major jump in the hashtag usage last year. Research by social media monitoring expert Ian Anderson Gray showed a significant increase from 913 mentions on Twitter in 2016 to 9,342 mentions in 2017—all without paid advertising or sponsored posts.

2018 Events and Promotions
Since its inception the campaign has been fueled by pride, passion and partnerships. In early 2018, the area’s minor league hockey team, the Wichita Thunder, hosted the first-ever #ilovewichita community pride night. The team wore specially-designed Wichita flag-themed jerseys for the January 20 game against the Colorado Eagles and the first 500 fans received special Wichita flag rally towels. Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell dropped the ceremonial hockey puck to kick off the game.

Adam Ortega of Luminous Neon Art & Sign Systems designed and installed the new decal on the Chambers pedestal sign.

Chamber members M.A.D. Ad Company and Midwest Billboards have committed to accelerating the movement this year with a partnership that includes donating ad space to the cause. M.A.D. Ad Company has donated space on mirrored billboard displays that are positioned in area bars and restaurants, and Midwest Billboards has donated space on nine of their Wichita-area electronic billboards. The space utilizes repurposed images and content posted on Instagram using the hashtag #ilovewichita. Watch our social media channels later today (June 8) for a video announcement about a new social media contest.

The hashtag got another major boost this year when Wichita hosted the first and second rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. It was utilized by Chamber partners Visit Wichita, the City of Wichita and INTRUST Bank Arena along with numerous area businesses, organizations and individuals. Our partnership with Luminous Neon Art & Sign Systems in producing a giant basketball hoop and backboard included a large #ilovewichita decal and the seven-day social media contest they sponsored incorporated the hashtag in photos with the 3-dimensional display.

This month Luminous Neon Art & Sign Systems donated and applied an #ilovewichita decal to Chamber signage just in time for the annual Wichita River Festival. And the Wichita Wingnuts, Wichita’s independent baseball team and a member of the South Division of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball Association, are hosting an #ilovewichita night of baseball this Saturday at 7 p.m. when they take on the Kansas City T-Bones. The team will be wearing special Wichita flag jerseys designed just for this game.

Our thanks to all of our partners who continue to fuel pride in our region and improve our quality of life and place.

Is the Wichita Flag Copyrighted?

Both the Chamber and the City of Wichita frequently field questions about the legal and design rights surrounding the Wichita flag. The simple answer is this: the Wichita flag is not copyrighted and never will be. The City of Wichita proudly uses the flag as a symbol of local government and allows others to use it for personal and/or commercial use.

Over the last several years, the flag has become more popular and widely used. You will see it on shirts, cups, skateboards, home decor, chocolate, tattoos and more. Since the flag is public domain, businesses and individuals are allowed to truly make the flag their own.

National Flag Day is next week on June 14. It’s the day that both the U.S. flag and the Wichita flag were officially adopted. We’re encouraging flag enthusiasts to show their community spirit by posting Wichita flag photos on social media and using #ILoveWichita with the images they share.

Check the June issue of VIP Wichita magazine for a two-sided coloring sheet with information about the flag’s history and symbolism.

History & Symbolism

The famous Wichita flag was designed in 1937 by a local artist named Cecil McAlister. McAlister placed an abundance of meaning in his design and it is one that has stood the test of time. The red and white rays symbolize the path of freedom to come and go as one pleases. The blue disc represents happiness and contentment. The white center includes a Native American symbol called a hogan, which means “permanent home.”

Learn more about the flag’s symbolism and history in this video, titled Your Wichita flag.

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