They came to race pedal tractors, eat popcorn, brand wood and hear a century-old organ be played — and to celebrate Kansas' birthday. 

Kauffman Museum hosted the annual Kansas Day observance, filled with activities, Jan. 26. Kansas Day, the state birthday, is Jan. 29.

"It was pretty good," said Michael Reinschmidt, Ph.D. Director, Kauffman Museum at Bethel College. "It was a full house."

An attendance estimate was not yet available. Those who visited the museum Saturday were asked to list how many were in their group, and where they came from.

Kansas day is today, Jan. 29, a day to commemorate the anniversary of the state's admission to the Union in 1861. The day was first celebrated in 1877 by school children in Paola. At Kauffman Museum the day is celebrated on Saturday before, filled with demonstrations, lectures, crafts and activities. 

This year Kansas Day will be celebrated by the Carriage Factory Art Gallery, with photographer Jeff Heidel presenting "A Kansas Day Trip" at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 29 at the gallery, 128 E. Sixth. The photographer will present a visual journey through Kansas of sites that are close enough to be explored in a day trip, including Teter Rock, Flint Hills and more. The event is free.

Kansas Day activities at Kauffman Museum were also free. Included during the day were antique pedal tractor races, old-fashioned schoolyard games, corn shelling, wagon rides, rope making, a Duplo play station, Play Do table, quilt crafts, bookmaking and a paper robot craft. The day also featured a truck and tractor show; a blacksmithing demonstration, a woodsman demonstration, a teepee, a restored farmouse and personal collections on display in the museum. 

Ray Olais spoke on his collection of science fiction toys and media while Karen Schlabaugh discussed musical treasures at the museum. There was a performance on the museum organ and Rachel Pannabecker and Jerry Toews offered antique identification. Keil Hileman spoke on "Hands-On Kansas History" on the campus of Bethel College.