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Small Town Traditions - March 15, 2019

Noah's Ark, just one of many floats seen at Biblesta, billed as the nation's "only Biblical parade."

Q: Billed as the "only Biblical parade in America," Biblesta has been going strong since the late 1950s. The next Biblesta will be held on October 5, 2019. Can you tell us where? What's the name of the Kansas town that holds this annual event?

A: Humboldt (in Allen County)

According to the website, the idea for Biblesta came to Dr. Arthur Carlson in 1957 while attending a cottage prayer meeting. His church was planning a revival meeting, and everyone was praying that the attendance would be good and that many souls would be saved; however, he really did not expect that to happen. While on his knees in prayer, he began imagining a parade that would focus people on the greatest book in the world...the Bible. Right then and there, he decided the best way to tell others about God was with a Bible Story Parade.

In late summer 1958, the Humboldt Chamber of Commerce accepted Carlson's idea for a Bible-themed parade and asked Carlson to be chairman. Carlson accepted the challenge and the 1st Biblesta Parade was deemed a success! A contest was held in 1959 to name the event. Vernon Hawver's entry won the contest. He came up with his name by putting the words "Bible" and "Fiesta" together. So, from that time on, the celebration became known as "BIBLESTA."

The Biblesta Parade consists of floats depicting events from the Bible, walking entries, equestrian units, and marching bands playing Christian music. Everyone is dressed in Biblical costumes. The events are arranged in chronological order from Genesis to Revelation. One of the favorite floats has been "Jonah and the Whale." Retired from the competition part of the parade, this 40-foot float continues to be one of the most fascinating to parade visitors. Before and after the parade, visitors enjoy gospel music in the City Square provided by nationally known entertainers. Children can enjoy the pony rides, petting zoo and Bible school. Food vendors are available throughout the day, but there's also a free ham and bean feed.

The next Biblesta is set for October 5, 2019, in the Allen County town of Humboldt.

See more pictures from the Biblesta Parade.

You'll find more of KPR's Kansas Trivia here, in our online archive.

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