Discover Emporia Freedom fest

Emporia Freedom Fest is a series of outdoor events bringing together people of all ages to enjoy the outdoors, exercise, and honor all veterans and their families. Started in 2003, the event is a fun and active part of Emporia's  off All Veterans Tribute month in Emporia, Kansas - the founding city of Veterans Day.  


This event is planned and hosted by volunteers from the Emporia Main Street organization.  The event, founded in 2003 has grown from a few dozen to over 300 participants on an annual basis.


Key hosts annually include but are not limited to:


City of Emporia

Lyon County

Emporia Main Street

Emporia Convention and & Visitor's Bureau



Flint Hills Technical College

Emporia State University

Gravel City Adventure and Supply

Dynamic Discs 

Emporia Main Street Members and Volunteers


Why we have Freedom Fest:

Emporia, has a long and proud tradition of supporting and celebrating the United States Military Veteran and their families, supporting employers and citizens.  As the Founding city of Veterans Day our volunteer organization is proud to host these events that support several worthy causes:

The beautification and maintenance of the Emporia All Veterans Memorial (Freedom Run)

The 635th AR/137th IN  Scholarship Fund (Spur Ride/Freedom Rides)

KS National Guard Enlisted Association (Kansas Proud 10 Miler)




There are many major events during Emporia Freedom Fest. Here is a quick summary of the event, the purpose and how it helps others:  All events take place on the 9th of November EXCEPT the self-paced Veterans Memorial Ride Challenge and the Virtual 5K Run/Walk. ( 30 day window of opportunity.)


Run/Walk Events:

Freedom Run (5K or 1 Mile) 

This is a traditional 5K Freedom Run/Walk or Stroll from the Emporia All Veterans Memorial, past the Mexican-American Veterans Memorial and back.  This is a family friendly  event and prizes are given for the 5K to top three runners, both male and female, for each age category.  Top three overall runners Male and Female receive customized trophies built from spare military parts and welded by the Flint Hills Technical College Welding program.  The one mile walk or run is a great opportunity to get some fresh air, bring the young kids or those just starting an exercise program. We encourage you to wear your most patriotic outfits for this event!

Freedom Run proceeds support the beautification and maintenance of the Emporia All Veterans Memorial Park.


EANGKS Kansas Proud 10 Miler/ 12 Mile Ruck March

The military has a proud tradition of fitness and being ready for anything.  We also enjoy running!   Join veterans, military, and civilians who enjoy celebrating our Kansas National Guard and support of our Veterans.  Hosted by the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of Kansas, this event give you the opportunity to run, walk or ruckmarch with fellow patriots and supporters of our Kansas Citizen Soldiers. 


Net proceeds support programs dedicated to the Soldiers and Airmen of the Kansas National Guard.

Freedom Fest Virtual Walk, Run or Ride

Too Busy or unavailable to join us on the 9th of November?  Sign up for a virtual event!  A virtual event is your opportunity to complete any of the events (except the Spur Ride)  on your own time and pace.  Visit the Freedom Fest registration site to enter.  All finishers receive the Freedom Fest Command Sergeant Major's Coin and can purchase the Veterans or Participant's T-Shirt. 

Rides (Gravel Cycling):


Gravel City Adventure & Supply / Timmerman 16 Miler Gravel Ride

Named after Emporian and WW II Tanker and Medal of Honor Recipient ,  the Timmerman 16 mile gravel grinder is a great ride for all ability levels.  Designed for the casual gravel rider or newer gravel rider.

Gravel City Adventure & Supply/ Eisenhower 40 Miler Gravel Ride

Named after Kansas, President, Allied Supreme Commander in WWII and a University President,  This 40 mile fast paced Gravel Grinder can be ridden by itself or as part of the Gravel City Adventure and Supply Spur Ride Challenge.  Route covers 40 miles of the beautiful Flint Hills in Southern Lyon County.

Gravel City/LYCO Historic Museum Memorial Ride Challenge

New for 2019 - This challenge is an opportunity to complete four rides on your own time and pace and visit Veterans Memorial's and sites across Lyon County Kansas.

Ride #1 explores North Lyon County and the site of the soon to be built North Lyon County All Veterans Memorial in Bushong Kansas

Ride #2 explores the site of the recently designed and soon to be dedicates Southern Lyon County Veterans Memorial in Olpe KS.

Ride #3 explores the Hartford, KS Veterans Memorial and takes you through the countryside surrounding the John Redmon Resevoir and the adjacent wildlife region.

Ride #4 is your final ride and explores major significant Veterans Markes and Memorials in Emporia, Kansas.


Disc Golf

Dynamic Disc Freedom Fest Open

Try your skills at the Dynamic Disc Freedom Fest Open -  18 holes at the Eric McCabe designed course at Soden's Grove, Emporia, Kansas.  


635th Armor/137th IN Spur Challenge

In it's fifth and final year - this challenge will test your endurance and give you a taste of the skills required to be a Cavalry Soldier.  Event requires each participant to:

  • Complete the 5K Run

  • Transition to 40 Miler Eisenhower Gravel Grinder

  • Complete the Spur Readiness Test - a skills lane testing basic Cavalry Soldier Skills.

There are additional retirements that can be found at the Spur Ride challenge website.

Successful completion of the challenge will receive the honorary Silver Spur.  2-4th year completers receive leather tabs to attach to their silver spur.  5th year completers receive the Gold Cavalry Spur.   Successful candidates who will be inducted into the association from members of the 137th Order of the Spur and will become auxiliary members.



and Displays

9th of November  9-4pm

Lyon County Fair Grounds Kansas Military Appreciation Day and Display

Numerous vehicles, military displays and even a finish line will be at the Lyon County Fair Grounds on the 9th of November.  Here is a sampling of what you can expect:

First Infantry Demonstrations & Display

- Mounted Cavalry Team and Classic cavalry Charge Demonstration


- Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team w/ Robot

Kansas Army National Guard

- Military Tracked and Wheeled Vehicles Display

- Climbing Wall

- Joust Pit

Discover Emporia Freedom Fest! 

Honor all who have served and continue to serve our nation. Net proceeds for the Spur Ride and Family Ride are donated to the regional scholarship fund for 635th/137th Kansas Guardsman family members.  Freedom Run and Walk net proceeds support the upkeep and improvements of the All Veterans Memorial.

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