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Spinach Travel

For those willing to put in some miles for their beloved vegetable, there are several spinach options available. Crystal City, Texas; Lenexa, Kansas, and Alma, Arkansas all vie for the title of Spinach Capital of the World. Crystal City is home to a large Del Monte packing plant, where much spinach is canned. Alma, Arkansas with a spinach-green water tower in the center of town is near the Allen Companys huge cannery. Lenexa claims a historical connection to spinach. Crystal Citys claim to the mantel of spinach center of the universe is older, they celebrated their first Spinach Festival in 1937 and put a statue of Popeye in the town center. The Popeye statue idea took root in Alma also.

CRYSTAL CITY: located about 90 minutes SW of San Antonio. The Spinach Festival is held the second weekend of every November, and attracts about 60,000 spinach-goers. The spinach cook-off is the highlight of this festival in the town that calls itself the spinach capital of the world. Most of more than 80 food booths feature spinach. Festivities include a talent show, parade, concert, free live music, golf tournament, and more. For more information, call (830) 374-3161.

LENEXA, KS: The Lenexa Spinach Festival explodes across Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park each year on the first Saturday after Labor Day.

The Spinach Festival began in the early 1980's as an opportunity for the Lenexa community to celebrate its heritage. The Spinach Festival celebrates Lenexa's earliest claim to fame as the "Spinach Capitol of the World" during the 1930's. Belgian farmers grew spinach in the Lenexa area and shipped it out by rail. The City of Lenexa was also established in the middle of several old wagon trails that criss-crossed the area. The Spinach Festival brings all of the history surrounding Lenexa into a fun celebration.
The Depot was used to ship the spinach to the canneries of New York and Chicago during the 1930's.

This spinach festival features over 100 arts and craft booths. Popeye and Olive Oyl arrive on a vintage 1930's Belgian farm truck to mix the world's largest spinach salad. The festival will showcase area trails history emphasizing realistic historic presentations and performances of American Indians, the Civil War, mountain men, immigrant trails, the Santa Fe Trail, and prairie agriculture. Numerous activities for all including, petting zoo, games, quilt show, antique tractor display, green rock skipping, cane pole fishing, paddle boats and more. The finale for this day comes at 5:00 pm with a quilt drawing from the Lenexa Historical Society.

The Lenexa Historical Society, Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Mid-America and the Lenexa Parks and Recreation Department sponsor the Lenexa Spinach Festival. Lenexa is located just SW of Kansas City, Kansas. For more information, contact 800-950-7867.

ALMA, ARKANSAS: Held the fourth Saturday each April, Almas spinach the smallest, but no less passionate in its homage to spinach. Activities begin at 6 a.m. with the Alma Masonic Lodges annual pancake breakfast and continue until late in the evening with the festivals talent show.

In between, theres something for everyone to enjoy.

More than 50 vendors offer an array of items for sale, ranging from food to arts and crafts items, and live entertainment will be featured. Carnival rides will be set up at the high school.

An annual festival dinner is held in the high school cafeteria beginning at 4:30 p.m. Cost of the meal is $3 for all you can eat, Jenkins said. Plenty of spinach goodies are on the menu. Alma is located in west-central Arkansas near Fort Smith. For more information, call. Phone: (479) 632-4127