Whimmydiddle. Some might say “Whimmy what?” When most Scott County residents hear the word “Whimmydiddle” they know it references one of the largest craft fairs in the state of Kansas. Whimmydiddle, held the last Saturday in September every year, attracts more than 4,000 people to Scott City, nearly doubling the size of the county.
This year will mark the 47th year for the Whimmydiddle Arts and Crafts Fair, a tradition established by a small group of Scott City women featuring “tole painting.” The original event held on the courthouse lawn became so popular, Fourth Street was blocked off in front of the courthouse to accommodate more people. With the event’s growth more help was needed and 44 years ago, the women of Alpha Omega Sorority joined the event and each year since have been running this time-honored tradition.
Alpha Omega begins accepting applications each spring for the nearly 200 booth spaces available. The Whimmydiddle Arts & Crafts Fair only accepts vendors that sell quality, creative, handmade items. The event attracts 15-20 new booths each year. Some vendors, like the Raggedy Ann vendor, have participated in the fair since its beginning and others for the first time. Whimmydiddle attracts vendors from all over the world. The ever-popular kettle corn vendor comes from Wyoming each year; the nesting eggs vendor travels from Russia.
In 46 years, Whimmydiddle has never been canceled. There’s been wind, rain and snow, but thousands still attend. Alpha Omega Sorority consists of 18 members who rotate through eight to nine different roles/committees to ensure Whimmydiddle is a success.
Each vendor pays a minimum of $100 for their booth space and an additional $20 for electricity. Alpha Omega Sorority donates proceeds, more than $25,000 in 2018, back into the Scott community. The sorority awarded 18 local high school seniors with scholarships, funded the milk money fund at Scott City Elementary School, and helped families and individuals with medical expenses. They also gave funds to Cooper’s Cause, Stomper Club, Scott Community Breadbasket, Golden Rule Preschool, Red Cross Blood Drive, in addition to others in the Scott community. Approximately 95% of the funds stay local, while the other 5% benefit statewide projects such as Heartspring Inc., Kansas Share and Care, Goodwill, March of Dimes, the Make a Wish Foundation, and one international project, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
Whimmydiddle is not just a longstanding tradition in the Scott Community made possible by the women of Alpha Omega Sorority, it’s an event that leaves a positive financial impact on local, state and international projects.