By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
October 2, 2013
In the late 1880s, Kansas City was awash with excitement that it, too, would soon have its own “harvest festival.” An up-and-coming group of Kansas Citians had just started what would last almost 40 years in its first incarnation; the Priests of Pallas festival was born.
The first year, a great parade was held, and President Grover Cleveland and his young bride attended the first Priests of Pallas festivities. From their place of honor on a second-floor balcony of the Coates House Hotel, they viewed magnificent floats accompanied by torch-bearing members of the Flambeau Club marching along Broadway. The theme changed annually after the first two years. The theme for 1887 and 1888 was “Grecian Myths.”
Souvenirs of every shape and size were created to commemorate the festival, including Private Mailing Cards, later to be known simply as postcards. This card is entitled “Love Bug” and is from 1910 when the Priests of Pallas theme was aerial transportation. In 1909, the theme was “A Trip to Mars.”
Hotels throughout the city were jammed for the week-long celebration. The festival died out in the early 1920s for lack of interest. Kansas City’s wide-open style at the time meant a festival in the nature of Priests of Pallas could be found in most every speakeasy throughout the city. A civic group attempted a resurrection of the festival in 1928, but it didn’t garner the interest it once had. This card from the 1910 collection of 15 cards has never been mailed. It is said that the 1910 set of cards is the rarest of the “P.O.P” postcard sets.