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Official Review by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Kansas State University is the oldest state university in Kansas, opening in 1863, six years before its neighboring rival, the University of Kansas. K-State is located in Manhattan Kansas, a city of more than 50,000 in the northeastern portion of the state. The university has an enrollment of nearly 25,000 students. Its top majors include Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine, Human Ecology, and Education.
K-State’s athletic teams are known as the Wildcats, and they compete in the Big 12 Conference. Baseball has been played at KSU since 1897 and they have won four NCAA regionals and three Big 12 Conference championships over that period of time. The baseball Cats call Frank Myers Field at Tointon Family Stadium their home field. Built in 1961, the stadium has undergone numerous renovations over the years, with a near re-build of the facility in 2001-2002.
The stadium holds more than 2,000 fans, and features AstroTurf GameDay Grass on the field itself. Chairback seating was added during the 2002 renovations, as were five club suites. A Daktronics scoreboard was also installed to keep fans updated on the game and scores from other Big 12 games. The exterior of the stadium is constructed of limestone in keeping with the architecture found throughout the KSU campus.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The concession stand at Tointon Family Stadium is located on the concourse and offers a wide variety of typically baseball fare The options include sodas ($4), water ($2), popcorn ($3), candy ($2), hot dogs ($3), chips ($2), and hamburgers ($5). Unfortunately being on the concourse, there is no view from the concession stand of the action on the field. On the good side, a picnic area is available adjacent to the stand so you do not have to balance the food on your lap. In addition to food and beverage, programs and K-State merchandise are also available in the same area.
Tointon Family Stadium really feels like a part of the K-State campus due to its exterior mimicking the architecture and limestone building materials found throughout the K-State campus. Being in a college town also adds to the enjoyment of the games. The crowds typically are about 50% students and 50% townspeople, and they are equally supportive of their Wildcats. They tend to come early and are very knowledgeable about the players and the opposition. Even though K-State is a large university you still get a small town, friendly atmosphere when you visit Manhattan.
Tointon Family Stadium is located on campus in the athletic complex for K-State. Neighboring facilities include Bramlage Coliseum (basketball), Bill Snyder Family Stadium (football), and the Christian Track and Field Complex.
Manhattan is definitely a college town, as the university is a major part of its population and the major employer in the area. The Aggieville district has been the town's entertainment hotspot since 1899 and is still going strong. Restaurants you might want to sample include the Rock-A-Belly Deli, the PowerCat Sports Grill, or Cox Brothers Barbeque. If you're looking for a drink, the Aggie Lounge (called the "Lou" by locals) is your classic college dive bar.
Two hotels within walking distance of the stadium are the Holiday Inn at the Campus and the Bluemont Hotel. Those looking for K-State merchandise need look no further than Varney's, which carries everything purple or wildcat. KSU's McCain Auditorium also hosts major concerts and touring shows throughout the year. A majority of the accommodations are located in downtown Manhattan or along Hwy 24.
I hope you like the color purple, as you will be surrounded by Wildcat fans covered head to toe in purple, while seated in purple stadium seating. Around Manhattan this is known as "Purple Pride" and there is no doubting the allegiance of these fans. They are boisterous and they fill the stadium for almost every game. However you are sitting in Tointon Family Stadium, and being Midwesterners, it is a very friendly bunch. The one game that is an exception to this rule is when the Jayhawks come to town, and these two bitter rivals face off. The two campuses are only 90 miles apart, so the visiting team typically brings a large contingent of their supporters with them.
K-State and Manhattan are accessed eight miles north of Interstate 70. Manhattan Regional Airport has daily service to both Dallas/Ft. Worth and Chicago. There is no public transportation system within the city of Manhattan, but the university does maintain its own on-campus bus system. Manhattan is somewhat isolated on the tall grass prairie lands of central Kansas. It is about 35 miles west of Topeka, the state capital, and about 140 miles west of Kansas City.
Tickets to K-State games are staggered by reserved seats ($12) versus general admission ($8), with further discounts in price for seniors, military and children ($5). K-State students are able to attend free of charge as it is factored into their student activity fee. All reserved seats are permanent seatbacks, while even the general admission seating areas feature seat cushion/chair backs. General admission seating includes bleachers along the first base side of the field, while berm seating is available along the third base line. Parking is free and plentiful in the Snyder football stadium parking lot adjacent to the baseball field. Lodging and food in Manhattan itself are very reasonably priced, making a visit to the area very family friendly budget wise.
Manhattan, Kansas likes to refer to itself as the "Little Apple." While it does not offer the traffic, crowds or major league sports of its bigger "sister city," it does offer some nice extras for visitors to enjoy. As you enter the town from I-70 you can't help but see the Flint Hills Discovery Center. This natural history museum is one of the biggest museums of any kind in Kansas.
The downtown area of Manhattan is built following the town center concept and is very walkable to shops restaurants and businesses. Closer to campus, Aggieville offers restaurants, bars, theatres and shopping just across the street from the university.
Each June, Manhattan hosts the Country Stampede, a three-day music festival featuring some of country music's greatest stars.
Finally, we are in Kansas, so a visit to Dorothy and Toto, too is in order. Just twenty miles east of Manhattan is the small town of Wamego, Kansas, which has developed a major tourist attraction with its Oz Museum and Oz Winery. You will see lots of wonderful memorabilia from the movie and it is a pleasant break during a long drive with the kids.
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718 N Manhattan Ave
Manhattan, KS 66502
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1641 Anderson Ave
Manhattan, KS 66502