Announcing the #WichitaFlagSummerTravelContest winners

The 2nd annual #WichitaFlagSummerTravelContest has concluded and the results prove that Wichitans love their hometown’s flag. The contest received nearly 173 unique entries, which was more than triple the number that was received in 2016. At the conclusion of the summer, the Wichita flag has been photographed in all 50 states, 36 different countries and on 5 continents. It’s safe to say that flag fever has spread worldwide.

Before the contest winners are revealed, here are a few other fun facts from this year’s contest:

  • The flag visited 7 different National Parks in 6 states
  • 124 individual accounts participated
  • 15 posts were from area businesses who joined in the fun
  • 28% of the entries included Wichita flag t-shirts
  • 20% of the entries used cloth flags (any size)
  • 9% used a flag picture on their phone
  • 6% used stickers
  • 5% used the insert published in the June 14 Wichita Eagle
  • The remainder (32%) used other flag swag (socks, koozies, hats, license plates, pins, magnets, etc.)

Contest winners are pictured below. They will each receive prizes from Great Image Designs (@greatimagedesigns on Instagram) and the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce. Thank you to all who entered and are helping spread Wichita love around the world!

50th State
When the @WichitaFlag account reported that Delaware was the only state it had not visited, Brandi Brenner (@brandi.brenner) and family changed their vacation plans so the flag could represent in its 50th state! They are photographed here at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

 

Best Group Pic
Can you say #SquadGoals? Heather Feist (@honeyfeist) and friends spent their friend-cation in matching flag tanks at Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.

 

 

Best Story
When Gabby Garlow (@garlogab) visited The Temple Bar Pub in Dublin, Ireland, early this year, she placed a Wichita sticker on a wall inside the pub (pictured left). Fast forward to July when Hillary Martin (@Hillarymartin22) visited that same pub and found the sticker her fellow Wichitan had left behind (pictured right).

 

Farthest Away
The flag was carried to many corners of the earth this summer, but the farthest it traveled from Wichita was to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which is 9,358 miles away. The flag is pictured here at the Petronas Twin Towers with Juan Velazquez (@juanpv00).

 

Highest Point
Kacey and Paul Bowen of Wichita Real Estate (@wichitarealestate) summited Mount Massive in July and carried along the flag and some local brews to celebrate at the top. Standing at 14,421 feet in Colorado, Mount Massive is just that. Josh Herman (@josh_herman) also conquered the 14er with the flag in hand in August.

 

Least Amount of Oxygen
Alejo Cabral (@mr_alejo_cabral) is a Wichita transplant, but that doesn’t hinder his love for the flag. During his vacation to Tulum, Mexico, the flag accompanied him during a dive into some underwater caves. Any guesses on how many takes it took to get that shot?

 

Most Countries Visited
This year’s MVP award goes to Juan Velaquez (@juanpv00), who submitted four contest entries from three different countries. Thanks to Juan, the flag crossed Cambodia (pictured), Vietnam and Malaysia off its travel bucket list.

 

 

Most Patriotic
Airman Lauren Nguyen chose to pose with the Wichita flag following her formal graduation from  boot camp at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. She makes us all proud to be Americans and proud to be Wichitans. Photo submitted by Lauren’s mother, Kim (@kimmisuu).

 

Most Popular
It’s probably not difficult to believe that the contest photo that received the most likes was this adorable entry from Kelly Korroch (@2kellyk). The photo of her pup Teddy was taken in Breckenridge, Colorado, as he took in the views and fresh mountain air.

 

Most Unusual
There have been many photos of the flag posing with animals like cats and dogs and even hedgehogs. But this was definitely a new one: riding a camel in the Sahara Desert with Kris Hammer (@kris.on.the.road).

 

 

State with the Most Entries
It may come as no surprise that more entries were posted from Colorado than any other state — 16 entries to be exact. This one was taken by Kyle Hiebert (@qb3rt5) in the Garden of the Gods and was one of the favorites.

 

 

Youngest Flag Fan
It’s always fun to see young Wichitans learning about the flag and its symbolism. Victor White (@ginger727) shared this photo of his grandson at New Smyrna Beach, Florida, showing his love for the flag and for Wichita.

 

To see all of this year’s entries, search #WichitaFlagSummerTravelContest on Instagram.

How Are you Celebrating Wichita’s Birthday? (Part 3)

We have four more ideas to share with you for celebrating Wichita’s 147th birthday bash on Friday, July 21.

Increased social media activity during the @wichitaflag’s 80th birthday celebration put Wichita on the map.

Share what you love about our city with the world
Using #ILoveWichita and posting on your favorite social media channel creates a constantly updated and authentic digital brochure about the best things to see and do in Wichita. During last month’s 80th anniversary celebration of the adoption of our city flag, Chamber Board member Mark Nichols with Koch Companies said he noticed the additional @wichitaflag Twitter activity and was impressed with the quantity, quality and creativity of the posts–everything from floral flags to flag cakes. And indeed, all those great posts put @Wichitaflag on the Twitter trendsmap. Nichols said Koch employees use Yammer as an internal platform to share ideas and create a sense of community. He noticed that many of the anniversary flag posts were shared that day in a popular group Koch employees can join called “We Love Wichita.”

Newman University shows their Wichita pride year-round on their digital signage.

Put a birthday message on your digital signage
We salute those Wichita businesses and organizations that have incorporated Wichita pride messages year-round on their digital signage. They’ve contributed to the growth in city pride. Return visitors to the community have noticed the change and first-time visitors are asking questions about the city’s flag. The ABC News crew that visited Wichita in February to cover local reaction to national politics wanted to know about the symbolism behind the Wichita flag since they noticed it displayed at all the locations they visited.

Add the #ILoveWichita decal to the front door of your business or organization.
You can join more than 50 Wichita organizations and businesses that have placed a decal on their front door. It’s fast and easy. And if your front door doesn’t have the perfect location for a decal, consider placing one in your employee break room or another spot that works best for your team. Check out the videos from area companies who have shared why they love being here after they’ve placed their decal and then call Courtney at the Chamber (316-268-1153) to learn about how to join the #ILoveWichita movement.

Stacy Ward Lattin just added the #ILoveWichita decal to the front door of Hopping Gnome Brewing on East Douglas.

Download a Wichita flag coloring sheet
Our partnership with Fidelity Bank has included the development of a coloring page for children and adults with flag facts. More than 900 have been printed and distributed to area basketball camps, preschools, and other organizations that provide services for children. The two-sided sheet is free to download and print and can be found on ilovewichita.org. It was developed at the suggestion of Wichita State University students from the Elliott School of Communication who recommended that the Chamber focus on instilling community pride at an earlier age. Download it, learn some flag facts, color the sheet, complete the sentence at the bottom, “#ILoveWichita because ______,” and then share it on social media.

Check out our previous two blogs this week for suggestions about more ways to celebrate.

How Are you Celebrating Wichita’s Birthday?  (Part 2)

Wichita’s 147th birthday bash is Friday, July 21. How are you celebrating? We shared some ideas in yesterday’s post and have five more listed below.

Hyde Elementary School proudly displays a Wichita flag.

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? Chamber members Henry Helgerson, The Workroom and Wings of the Wind Kites & Toys can set you up with various sizes of flags. Why is community pride and championing the flag imperative for rallying our city? Check The Chung Report article titled Raising the Wichita Flag and watch the Roman Mars Ted Talk about the impact city flags have on civic pride.

#FlagItForwardICT
Know a neighbor, business or organization you think would love to be part of the Wichita flag movement? Gift them a flag! A Wichitalks speaker proposed this idea last year and we think it’s a great one. This is the ultimate Wichita welcome, whether it’s for a business near you that just opened their doors or for a new neighbor who just moved to your block. And the connections built by becoming a better neighbor are imperative for growing our companies, careers and community. Visit this post from The Chung Report about the community and personal benefits of good neighboring – Good Neighboring and the Perception Challenge.

A young visitor from West Chester, Pennsylvania checks out one of Wichita’s outdoor murals.

Visit a mural
Take your picture at one of the many new murals featuring Wichita flag elements and post it on social media. What can you say about a community where three new Wichita murals went up just last weekend? We love art. The number of local-based outdoor murals has skyrocketed in the last several years. Locals and visitors are really enjoying all the new and interesting artwork and those murals are good for business. Check the Wichita Eagle story posted by Matt Riedel earlier this year about how a mural has attracted new customers for a local business. Find a current listing of mural locations at ilovewichita.org or the @wichitaflag mural Facebook album.

Area artisans are painting the Wichita flag on everything from tree stump tables to athletic shoes. This table was painted by local artist, Johnny Freedom.

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 to display at your home or office. 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

Watch and share flag videos
Look for these titles:

Your Wichita Flag – The Chamber produced a new video last month with member World Studios ICT that was released on the 80th anniversary of the Wichita flag. It’s received nearly 30,000 views on the Chamber’s Facebook page alone.

Resurgence of the Wichita Flag – A ‘first place’ was recently awarded by the National Federation of Press Women for the Resurgence of the Wichita Flag video that the Chamber developed last year with Washburn film student and Wichita native Ben Faires.

Check out yesterday’s post and watch for a new one tomorrow with more suggestions about how to celebrate.

How Are you Celebrating Wichita’s Birthday? (Part 1)

Wichita’s 147th birthday bash is Friday, July 21. How are you celebrating? We have some ideas to share with you in this week’s blog posts.

Attend a Birthday Celebration 
Several Chamber members are hosting special events.

Produce Your Own Birthday Bash
Offer a special discount or service for people wearing Wichita flag swag and promote it via your social media channels.

Watch for more suggestions on blog posts that we’ll publish this week.

Chamber Celebrates Wichita Flag Day and Abilene Trophy

This morning’s Sunrise Scrambler celebrated the awarding of the Abilene Trophy to the Friends of McConnell as well as the premiere of a new video for the 80th anniversary of the adoption of the city’s official flag.

Elected officials and military leaders helped the Friends of McConnell celebrate winning the Abilene Trophy award.

ABILENE TROPHY
The Friends of McConnell, an affiliate of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, was announced as the recipient of the 2016 Abilene Trophy on April 28. The award was officially presented today by Abilene Trophy representatives, Yvonne Batts and Scott Senter. It’s given annually to the community that demonstrates the most support of its local Air Force Base. Also known as the Air Mobility Command Community Support Award, this is the first time that Wichita has been selected for the award since it was initiated in 1998.

Elected officials and representatives of McConnell Air Force Base were on hand to congratulate the Friends of McConnell on the relationships they have built between the community and the Base. Colonel Al Miller from McConnell Air Force Base remarked during today’s ceremony that no other community that he has been assigned to comes close to the Wichita community in support of Airmen.

Please see our Facebook page and Twitter account for more photos and information.

The 80th anniversary of the Wichita flag was also celebrated today.

WICHITA FLAG DAY
Through the generosity of numerous sponsors and partners, the Chamber kicked off the 80th anniversary of the adoption of the city’s official flag this morning with a new video and free items that Wichitans can download to share their pride.

VIDEO

  • The Chamber partnered with World Studios ICT in downtown Wichita to produce a 3-minute video highlighting the history and symbolism behind the flag. The video, titled Your Wichita Flag, is posted on the Chamber’s Facebook page.
  • The video includes sixteen Wichitans who donated their time and talent to participate – Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell, Jamil Malone, Tammy Allen, Ben Jennings, Madison Harris, Paul Blissett, Angie Elliott, Jonathon Long, Jason Villanueva, Ellen Decker, Courtney Sendall, Royce Stevenson, Jackie Ebert, Jackson Ebert, Cassandra Bryan and Brad Painchaud.

DOWNLOADS

  • A website devoted to the promotion of the #ILoveWichita and @WichitaFlag campaign now has three printables that can be downloaded at ilovewichita.org.
  1. Coloring sheet with flag facts
  2. 11×17 two-sided printed flag with flag information
  3. Copyright information about using the flag
  • Special note:  The coloring sheet was developed as a result of a Chamber brainstorming session with communication students at Wichita State University’s Elliott School of Communication last fall. After learning about the Chamber’s grassroots pride-in-place initiative, the students recommended instilling community pride at an earlier age and focusing on preschool and grade school children.

Special thanks to our Wichita flag partners: World Studios ICT, The Wichita Eagle, VIP Wichita Magazine and Fidelity Bank.

And our sincere gratitude to this month’s Sunrise Scrambler sponsors:  Golden Plains Credit Union, Friends University, Burnell’s Fine Jewelry, Davis-Moore Auto Group and Together Wichita.

Envision helps bring home the gold, silver and bronze

They say teamwork makes the dream work and we’re seeing a lot of that happening during this year’s Olympic games. It’s been a great ride and so uplifting to watch athletes from all around the world support each other. That encouragement makes all the difference and helps propel them to the medal stand.

Teamwork makes the dream work at the Chamber, too. This week we had an opportunity at our Federal Issue Forum luncheon to recognize one of our many outstanding partners who not only support our important government relations work, but also teams up with our Communications and Investor Relations Department on printed materials.

Photo Jan 27, 9 24 14 AMLast year Michael Monteferrante and his team at Envision stepped forward and agreed to make it possible for the Chamber’s Annual Summary to incorporate some extra flair. You may recall seeing the folded flag-shaped summary at our 2015 Annual Meeting or you may have noticed it when it arrived in your mailbox last January.  We enjoyed seeing photos of it shared across several social media platforms and hearing from some members who considered it a keepsake. In fact, one of our Chamber members still has it posted on their retail storefront window.

The Wichita flag piece has received three awards during the last six months.

  • GOLD – First Place award from the Kansas Professional Communicators
  • SILVER – Second in the Wichita American Marketing Association competition
  • BRONZE – An Honorable Mention from the National Federation of Press Women

These awards would not have been possible without the generosity of Michael Monteferrante and his team at Envision. We are very grateful for his partnership and the awards he and his team helped deliver to the Chamber.

And we’re grateful for the many other partnerships that propel the Chamber and our members toward our vision of making this region the premier place to grow companies, careers and communities. It’s through your investment and efforts that we can make the dream work.

Chamber President Gary Plummer (left) presented Michael Montana, Teresa Houston and Michael Monteferrante of Envision with commemorative frame as a token of appreciation for their partnership.

Chamber President Gary Plummer (left) presented Michael Montana, Teresa Houston and Michael Monteferrante of Envision with a commemorative frame as a token of appreciation for their partnership.

Wichita flag gains VIP status in VIP Wichita Magazine

Wichita Eagle publisher Roy Heatherly is an enthusiastic community champion and an active Chamber Board member. And he understands how passionate our Chamber staff is about promoting Wichita and elevating community pride. So we were happy to comply when he asked us to contribute a short article to his organization’s newest monthly publication, VIP Wichita Magazine.

VIP Magazine_Aug16

It was a great opportunity to partner with the Eagle and invite more Wichitans to be part of the #WichitaFlag and #ILoveWichita movement. The article on pages 14-18 of the August edition of VIP Wichita Magazine includes interviews with just a few of the movement’s earliest supporters.

While we didn’t have the time or the resources to profile everyone who has played a role in promoting Wichita’s pride over the last decade, we feel like that’s great news! Because there are so many organizations and people now united in propelling Wichita’s image forward, we could easily fill all the pages of several issues of VIP Wichita Magazine with fascinating stories and compelling images.

Wichita native Ben Faires provided an added bonus to the article we developed. He videotaped some of the interviews and then produced a short video that has already been viewed more than 4,000 times on the Wichita Flag Facebook page. A film student at Washburn University, Ben donated his time and talent to produce this tribute to his hometown, which he titled The Resurgence of the Wichita Flag.

We’re grateful to Roy for this opportunity, to Ben for his gift of the video and to everyone who made time to participate in interviews for the article. And we applaud and appreciate all those who are dedicated to improving Wichita and growing pride in those things that make Wichita so special.

Don’t miss these other Chamber-related features in the August issue of VIP Wichita Magazine.

  • YPW #ILoveWichita T-Shirt Unveiling event, page 7
  • Chamber’s Metro Maui Mingle event, pages 32-33
  • Why I Love Wichita feature with two former Chamber Board members, page 40

USS Wichita crest celebrates city’s roots

By Lyndsey Edwards

Photo by Derek Pruett

Photo by Derek Pruett

The new USS Wichita under construction in a Wisconsin shipyard is actually the third ship to bear Wichita’s name. This version of the USS Wichita (LCS-13) will be nearly 400 feet long and sprint at top speeds of over 40 knots.

The vessel’s crest was recently unveiled and the design offers insight into the history of our city. The red and white partition of the shield and the Zia Sun are properties from the flag of the City of Wichita. The city’s flag was adopted 79 years ago and each design element has a specific meaning. The red and white rays symbolize the path of freedom to come and go as one pleases. The blue disc or sun represents happiness and contentment. Stitched on the blue sun is an Indian symbol for Hogan or permanent home, represented by a white circle with four sets of three parallel rays emanating from the circle’s principal axis.

Along with the flag, the crest displays other familiar city and state symbols. A buffalo skull symbolizes the Wichita Indians, wheat stalks represent the main crop of Kansas and its residents, and feathers pay tribute to Wichita’s Native American heritage. The ship’s motto, “KEEPER OF THE SEAS,” honors Wichita’s iconic Keeper of the Plains sculpture.

The USS Wichita should be christened in early fall. The two previous ships named after Wichita earned 17 battle stars and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.

Contact Pat Gallagher (316-268-1157) at the Chamber for more details about upcoming USS Wichita events.

No Cure for Flag Fever

The Wichita Flag made a number of appearances in this year's River Festival parade, including this float by Professional Engineering Consultants.

The Wichita Flag made a number of appearances in this year’s River Festival parade, including this float by Professional Engineering Consultants.

It was 79 years ago tomorrow (National Flag Day) that our city’s flag was officially adopted. Elements of the flag were incorporated in this year’s River Festival buttons and in murals that were painted downtown this spring. It’s fairly commonplace to see several people wearing flag lapel pins at official community gatherings and you’ll find the flag waving in many neighborhoods these days. The flag even has its own social media accounts (@wichitaflag). But that hasn’t always been the case.

An article in the Lawrence Journal‐World (dated October 7, 2004), noted that while Wichita’s official city flag was ranked sixth among 150 flags in a 2004 North American Vexillological Association American City Flag survey, it wasn’t even being flown over City Hall at the time. A representative of local flag supplier Helgerson Co. stated in the article that the company had sold less than a dozen Wichita flags.

Over the years some local artists have shown their appreciation for the city’s timeless flag design by Wichitan Cecil B. McAllister. Artist Chris Gulick wrote about the flag in a local publication in 2003, and collaborated with others to raise awareness about it. At that time the flag was only flown a handful of places in Wichita and Gulick said he was told by officials, “People don’t understand it. They don’t know what it means.” Gulick had ornamental license plates printed with the flag, but said, “We couldn’t give them away.”

Fast forward to 2015. A resurgence of pride in Wichita started gaining momentum last year and our community’s unique flag became the logical rallying point. And in one short year, Wichita is raging with flag fever. Gulick commented about the recent “birth” rather than “resurgence” of interest in the Wichita flag during an interview with local radio station KMUW in December, 2015. He said, “It’s huge. It’s a rolling train and you’re not going to stop it now.”

During the last twelve months our flag has become a highly visible part of our city’s landscape thanks to so many Wichitans who are sharing their love for this community. It’s a symbol of our pride in the people, experiences and places that make Wichita special. Most importantly, it’s a tangible reminder that regardless of our differences, we are connected to each other and can move forward faster when we champion our community together.

–Looking for some flag swag to show your Wichita pride? Check out ilovewichita.org
–Wondering about the ten most popular #WichitaFlag images that have been posted in the last twelve months? Check the @WichitaFlag Instagram account.

 

Answering your #WichitaFlag questions

There’s been a noticeable resurgence in the interest in our city’s flag during the last few months. We’ve had a number of inquiries at the Chamber since “flag fever” started taking hold. We’re asked most often about the meaning behind the flag and where flags can be purchased. So here are some resources for you to share.

Wichita Flag buttons

Wichita Flag pins

Symbolism
Wichita artist Cecil McAllister, put a lot of thought into his flag design that was adopted by the city almost eighty years ago. Angie Elliott, Director of Business Services for the Chamber, explains the history and symbolism behind the flag in this short video (1 minute and 21 seconds) that can easily be shared via the Chamber’s YouTube channel.

Purchasing a flag
Two Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce members carry Wichita flags that you can purchase for your business or home. Contact Henry Helgerson at 316-943-1851 or The Workroom at 316-295-4520. Follow the The Workroom on social media for images of other flag items they carry as well as discounts on Second Saturday and flash sales. Check @thewokroomICT on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Finding flag pins
Two Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce members carry Wichita flag buttons. Check with Watermark Books or The Workroom for flag buttons, t-shirts, mugs, patches and other flag swag. You can also stop by the Chamber’s booth (#614) at our business-to-business trade show event, Exposure on September 24. We’ve partnered with Tangible Advertising to provide flag pins for exhibitors and attendees on that day. (Plan to participate in our #WichitaFlag social media contest for prizes.)

Following the flag
The Wichita flag has its own social media accounts so that you can see where the flag has been travelling, who is proudly wearing flag swag, and how local artists are incorporating elements of the flag in their work. Check @WichitaFlag on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Post your pictures and comments using #WichitaFlag.