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Banners flying: Great Bend needs a flag
Manhattan flag

This week Kim Medvid’s design “Little Apple on the Prairie” was selected as the City of Manhattan flag contest design winner. City officials report that 3,021 ballots were cast through on-line and in-person voting and Medvid’s design won with 29 percent of the votes.

The flag shows the outline of an apple in white with a background of blue (to symbolize the expansive sky over the prairie, and the Big Blue and Kansas rivers) and green (symbolizing the fertility of the land, opportunity for growth and the native grasses of the Flint Hills).

One hundred twenty designs were submitted for consideration, with artists as young as 8 years old and as far away as Sweden participating. Assistant City Manager Dennis Marstall said the process generated a lot of community interest. “It’s clear that people embrace the ‘Little Apple’ nickname and want to celebrate the City’s location in the Flint Hills.”

Wichita has had its own distinctive flag for years, ever since artist Cecil McAlister’s design was officially adopted in 1937. In a 2004 web-based survey by the North American Vexillological Association that ranked 150 city flags, Wichita’s finished in sixth place. Washington, D.C.’s flag was first. (In case you’re wondering, “vexillology” is the study of the history, symbolism and usage of flags.)

South Bend, Indiana, has had a city flag since 1965. Bend, Oregon, appears to have a proposed flag, but nothing official, while the City of North Bend, Oregon, does have a flag.

Wouldn’t it be great if Great Bend had a flag? This was suggested at least once during a Great Bend - Better Than Great! community engagement session. It might not be our most pressing need, but it’s something people could weigh in on and have fun with — and it might even create an enduring emblem.

A catchy motto or nickname would be fun, too. Dodge City is “Queen of the Cowtowns” and La Crosse is the “Barbed Wire Capital of the World.” Alpine, Texas, is the “Gateway to Big Bend” and Austin, Texas, embraces individuality with the slogan, “Keep Austin Weird.” What great things do you think of when you think of Great Bend?

Anyone want to sponsor a contest?