Kansas Expocentre Seating Plan
Events at Kansas Expocentre
Details of Kansas Expocentre and the Ticket Luck value
From a small, local fair to the Topeka Sate Fair to the Kansas Expo center, this 80-acre site in the center of Topeka has a long winding history.
Its use has been related to such varied activities as agriculture, farming, exhibitions, education and entertainment. Sightseers enjoy concerts, family shows, trade shows, consumer shows, horse shows, dog shows and all kinds of displays.
It is not unusual for six events to be hosted simultaneously in the Center"s facilities with bookings typically exceeding 600 event days annually.
Other than being home to the Shawnee County Fair, The Kansas Expo center is also domicile to the Topeka Road Runners of the North American Hockey League, the Kansas Koyotes of the American Professional Football League and the Kansas State High School Rodeo Finals.
Although well over a century has passed since the first trade fair was held at this location, yet the old fairgrounds continue to attract hundreds of thousands of people each year.
In 1998 the Capitol Plaza Hotel opened for business on a five acre site that had been reserved on the Expo grounds for the location of a privately built hotel.
Owned by John Q. Hammons, the hotel has 224 rooms, restaurant, lounge, pool, fitness center, ballroom, and a climate-controlled walkway connecting to the Expo centre. Maner Conference Center is now operated by the hotel.
The Kansas Expo Center has enjoyed a nippy rise to glory. In just a nine year interlude, the small local fair grew to a state fair and turned into an expo center. The earliest recorded event on this site dates back to 1871.
Fairgoers saw the newest farm equipment and the best agricultural exhibits in the state, as well as the finest livestock. The fair included a variety of entertainment, ranging from horse races and saloons to opera houses and fine arts displays. In 1879, some of the fair buildings were used to house hundreds of ex-slaves during the "Exoduster" movement westward through Topeka.
The original grandstand was erected during the last decades of the 19th century. However, it was not until 1909 that thought was given for the building of permanent structures funds appropriated.
The official state fair was transferred to Hutchinson in 1913, when a political battle erupted. The members of the fair board proposed to sponsor a new exhibition called the Kansas Free Fair, which opened in 1915. In 1917 the free fair sponsored a new grandstand, permanent livestock buildings and pony barns.
Despite the fact that the Kansas Free Fair went bankrupt in 1931 but within a year the fair was once again profitable and back to constructing new buildings. The late '30s were record-breaking years for the Kansas Free Fair and the boom continued until World War II.
During this period new attendance records were set and extravagant exhibitions were held new facilities constructed. The fair survived a few lean years then picked up where it left off. A new ultra-modern Appliance Hall was erected in 1948 and an impressive Exhibit Hall in 1950.
The fair was renamed The Mid-America Fair in 1958. The renaming was followed by a projected multi-million dollar expansion and the reinstatement of a gate charge. Yet fairgoers set a new attendance record in 1959, exceeding 410,000 people.
1974 witnessed the termination of the lease between the Shawnee County Commissioners and the fair board- citation being the deterioration of buildings and grounds, not utilizing the land to its fullest potential.
Over the next few years, the fair reappeared under a new name: the Sunflower State Expo. Formal scheduling began in 1978 for a new "Shawnee Expo Complex"; a 19.7 million bond issue was passed on April 5, 1983 to build the Kansas Expo centre.
By mid-year 1984, Agricultural Hall, Heritage Hall, Livestock Pavilion and Exposition Hall (now known as Maner Conference Center) had been refashioned while adjacent property along 17th street was acquired, demolished, and converted into parking space. Construction of the new exhibit hall and arena was completed in 1987.
To tie the old buildings to the new facilities, an indoor passageway was constructed between the conference center and exhibit hall. The community now utilizes the smaller halls for wedding receptions, parties, galas and dances.
The Grand Opening of the Kansas Expo centre was held on April 17, 1987 with a sold-out concert featuring Kenny Rogers, T. Graham Brown and Ronnie Milsap. Landon Arena - named after Kansas' elder statesman, Governor Alfred M. Landon (1887-1987) - hosted the first Expo centre event with nearly 9,000 people attending a Topeka Sizzlers basketball game.