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. 

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.


Annual Key hosts:


  • City of Emporia

  • Lyon County

  • Emporia Main Street

  • KVOE

  • Flint Hills Technical College

  • Gravel City Adventure and Supply

  • Dynamic Discs 

  • Emporia Main Street Members and Volunteers


  • Lyon County State Bank

Why we have Freedom Fest:

Emporia has a proud tradition of supporting and celebrating the United States Military Veterans and their families while supporting small business 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/10K)  

This is a traditional 5K/10K Freedom Run/Walk or Stroll from the Emporia All Veterans Memorial, past the Mexican-American Veterans Memorial and back.   For beginners we do have the one mile walk or run i- 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.  Virtual Freedom Run goes from 11 SEP to 11 NOV.  Simply submit your time and a photo of your completed 5K or 1 Miler to to receive your SWAG!


EANGKS Kansas Proud 12mi (Run or Ruck)

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 gives you the opportunity to run, walk or ruck march with fellow patriots and supporters of our Kansas Citizen Soldiers.  To be a military "ruckmaster" stuff your ruck with at least 35 lbs of food to be donated to your locate food pantry/charity since we are 100% virtual this year for this event. Your goal is to complete the 12 miles in under 3 hours!



Net proceeds support programs dedicated to the Soldiers and Airmen of the Kansas National Guard.  Food items are donated to our Salvation Army Food Pantry in Emporia Kansas.

Rides (Gravel Cycling):


Gravel City Adventure & Supply / Timmerman 16mi 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.  

Virtual Gravel City 16mi is from 11 SEP to 11 NOV.  Simply send us your completion time, a picture of you on the course, or at the finish, and if possible have your route go by your special Veterans Memorial or site dedicated to the Military in your area.

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.  The route covers 40 miles of the beautiful Flint Hills in Southern Lyon County.

Virtual Gravel City 40 miler is from 11 SEP to 11 NOV.  Simply send us your completion time, a picture of you on the course, or at the finish, and if possible have your route go by your special Veterans Memorial or site dedicated to the Military in your area.

Year-Round Training Rides:  Gravel City/LYCO Historic Museum Memorial Ride Challenge

This challenge is an opportunity to complete four rides on your own time and pace and visit Veterans Memorials 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 dedicated 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 Reservoir and the adjacent wildlife region.

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

Disc Golf

Dynamic Discs 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.  

Will to Win Spur Challenge

This challenge tests your endurance and gives you a taste of the skills required to be a Cavalry Soldier.  The 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 competitors 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 - 

Emporia Freedom Fest Expo

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