Topeka continues to go gaga over Google

A Sign From Above Think Big Topeka, in collaboration with other organizations, hung this banner on the Cumulus Broadcasting building at 9th and Kansas Ave. in Downtown Topeka. On Tuesday, Topekans again showed their interest in the Google Fiber Project.

Robert Burkett / Washburn Review

Yesterday, the past and the future collided in a fun, if somewhat chilly, afternoon that helped to put the final punctuation on an effort that has seen Topeka launched into the forefront of national attention.

As many remember, earlier this year Topeka became Google, Kan. for a short time as the drive to bring a new technology to the capital city courtesy of the Internet search engine giant, Google.

From standing on the Topeka Roadrunners ice rink forming a human “Google” to appearing on national television on the day that Google temporarily turned their website to “Topeka,” there has been an effort on the part of organizations like Think Big Topeka and Go Topeka to continue the spirit in their bid to win the high-speed Internet contest.

“It’s just great to see the community rallying around something like this,” said Ryan Bishop, Gizmo Video productions employee and Washburn alumnus.

All of the effort culminated in a small gathering downtown near the corner of 9th Street and Kansas Avenue, as free food and live music provided a backdrop for a History Channel special that was being taped.

The special entitled, “How States Got Their Shapes” brought further attention to the city and state as the deadline for the announcement of which city will be awarded Google’s technology closes in.

“We just wanted to do something that would show we still care to Google and that we haven’t given up on this idea,” said Alissa Sheley, founding member of Think Big Topeka. “We knew we wanted to do something to wrap up the year so we got this awesome banner made with help from community supporters and came down here to show we love our community.”

Among the other members of the community, Mayor Bill Bunten spoke about his feelings on the process and expressed his thanks to “the young people of Topeka.”

“I just feel like I’m 75 again,” said Bunten. “I am so happy that everyone came out even in this weather to help support our community. I love Topeka and I know that everyone here feels the same way.”

After Bunten’s address to the gathered crowd, the Topeka High drumline took center stage as they put on an energetic performance that had people rocking back and forth in the crowd. The group played and danced back and forth in a style reminiscent of the movie, “Drumline” and even featured a drum cadence from the movie.

Prior to the speakers and after Topeka High was done, a local music group, Chris Aytes & The Good Ambition, performed classic rock and even some rock inspired Christmas music to help keep the crowd entertained in weather that dipped into the low 30 degree range.

“We appreciate everyone braving the weather to come out and show everyone how much our community wants positive things to happen,” said Sheley.