The Hills Are Alive …

… with the sound of music. Flint Hills, that is. And it’s thanks in part to a Kansas AGCO dealership.

By Amy Bickers

Photo courtesy of Symphony in the Flint Hills

Photo courtesy of Symphony in the Flint Hills

An afternoon on the gorgeous Kansas prairie is a great way to experience the joys of the land. All the better if a day on the prairie is set to music.

The eighth annual Symphony in the Flint Hills, to be held this June 15, debuted in 2006 with a goal of, in part, providing an economic boost to rural Kansas prairie communities. Ticket sales cover about half the costs of the event, while individuals, foundations and corporations make donations to cover the rest. This year, one of the sponsors is Kansas AGCO dealer KanEquip, Inc.

For the first time, the 90-minute outdoor concert will be held at Fort Riley on the Historic Main Post. Past events have been held in remote pastures of prairie grass. Event organizers are excited about the chance to offer a taste of Kansas military history in addition to the sounds of the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra, who perform annually.

The daylong event also will feature a “petting zoo,” where the chance of stepping in something is minimal, but the chance of getting a little pep in your step is high. At the instrument petting zoo, visitors can hold instruments and learn how to play a note (with the help of volunteers).

Each year, about 5,000 people venture out to rural areas for the concert experience. After this season, concert officials estimate that the annual event will have contributed more than $5 million to the Flint Hills economy.

Planning to attend? Make the most of the experience. Bring lawn chairs or blankets. Pack your sunscreen, hats and sunglasses. While a barbecue dinner (including a vegetarian option) will be sold on-site, visitors can also bring picnics or enjoy tailgate dining.

The sunset concert begins at 6:45. Gates open at 1 p.m., and activities will begin at 2. General admission tickets are $75 for adults and $43 for children under 12. For more information, call the box office at 816-471-0400 or visit symphonyintheflinthills.org