Besides Sugar Creek being home to a large population with Slavic ancestry, did you know that it also has the only location in the United States where four National Historical trails - Lewis and Clark, Santa Fe, Oregon and California - overlap?
The city of Sugar Creek plans to commemorate Wayne City Landing (also known as the Upper Independence Landing), the National Trail juncture and one of the first riverboat ports west of the Mississippi River, by having a new festival this August.
The first annual Wayne City Landing Days will be held Aug. 7, 8 and 9 at Roper Stadium, 131 S. Carlisle Ave. in downtown Sugar Creek.
According to Sugar Creek Mayor Matt Mallinson, the free festival will feature 18 carnival rides – including a seven-story ferris wheel – food and craft vendors, historical re-enactors, a plethora of country western musical acts and a shuttle bus for those who want to visit the Wayne City Landing overlook at the Missouri River.
“It's going to be larger than our Slavic Festival,” said Mallinson. “The city wanted to bring Wayne City Landing to light for citizens.”
The mayor said the Wayne City Landing Festival will be a family event with no wine or beer gardens. It is not a replacement for the city’s annual Slavic Festival, held every June at the Mike Onka Memorial Building grounds.
Wayne City Landing was actually the first settlement in what is now Sugar Creek, according to the Sugar Creek Historical Center. The landing was named in honor of U.S. Army Lt. Anthony Wayne, who camped at the Missouri River south bank site in 1825 to prevent Kaw Indians from settling in eastern lands. A few decades earlier in 1804, the Lewis and Clark Expedition also camped in the vicinity of the landing.
Early 19th century pioneers would stock up on goods at Wayne City Landing before heading to Independence to venture the Oregon, California and Santa Fe trails, according to the National Park Service website. But the Great Flood of 1844 placed a sandbar in front of the landing, which caused settlers to head further west up the River to Westport Landing in what is now downtown Kansas City.
Six years later in 1850, the first railroad west of the Mississippi River was constructed to join Wayne City and Independence. It operated on wooden rails with ox-drawn carts for two years. This railroad paved the way for the present River Boulevard in both Sugar Creek and Independence.
For more information about being a vendor for Wayne City Landing Days, contact the city of Sugar Creek at 816-252-4400.