SHAWNEE, Kan. — After a brief hiatus because of the pandemic, Old Shawnee Days is back.

The sound of children laughing, and the smell of fair food fills the air at the four-day event that kicked off Thursday evening.

After two years away due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival returns.

“It’s really nice to be able to come out in the community again,” Lisa Pinnell said.

“It’s so much fun and it’s so whimsical,” Saniyah Craig said. “It’s so special because there so many different rides. And happiness in the air really.”

For some families, they are happy to get back to what they call a family tradition.

“This is our third year out here and we were talking about how this is a tradition with him,” Nichole Kruger said. “We are seeing him grow up on the rides and see him on the more scary rides.”

Plus, after several rainy days across the metro many are welcoming the chance to be out in the sun and taking in some of the rides.

“I’m going to ride as many rides as I can and try not to pass out,” Craig said.

This event has been a staple for the community for more than 50 years and you can expect live music, carnival rides and fair foods. Plus, a parade on Saturday morning.

Organizers say this event usually brings in thousands of people to the area.

“They usually have around 100,000 people that come over those four days, so we are expecting that or maybe even more this year,” Julie Breithaupt said, with the City of Shawnee.

Admission to Old Shawnee Days is free and the live shows are free.