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In this Aug. 10, 2013, file photo, Michelle Johnson (left) hands a mug of Kool-Aid to Brynn Behring, 10, of Lincoln during Kool-Aid Days.

With a seeming inability to safely serve Kool-Aid from the world’s largest Kool-Aid stand, members of the Kool-Aid Days board have decided to postpone the 2020 Kool-Aid Days Festival until 2021.

Kool-Aid Days was scheduled for Aug. 21-23 on the Adams County Fairgrounds. This was supposed to be the first year of a collaboration between Kool-Aid Days and the Oregon Trail Rodeo, with the events happening simultaneously.

The novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, pandemic disrupted the plan, however, leaving the Oregon Trail Rodeo to go forward on its own if the Adams County Agricultural Society can get an operational safety plan approved by the South Heartland District Health Department.

“We would love to, obviously, be a part of the rodeo weekend,” Kool-Aid Days president Marissa Sitzmore said in an interview Wednesday afternoon. “However, some of the regulations we have to meet are different than for their event.

“One of the biggest hurdles, obviously, is what Kool-Aid Days is based on, and that’s the world’s largest Kool-Aid stand. With not being able to offer refills, it’s just an ugly situation on how that would work. The logistics behind the refills of the Kool-Aid alone are more than we can handle with the state regulations the way they are right now.”

Sanitation of the many inflatables, games and activities at Kool-Aid Days also would be difficult, she said.

“There’s just too many obstacles we could not get around, unfortunately,” Sitzmore said. “I’m literally sick about it because I know it’s one of the biggest events Hastings has to offer. I’ve put my heart and soul into this for 10 years.

“This year, being my first year as president, all of the extra steps and meetings and planning to end up postponing the festival breaks my heart for multiple reasons. On the flip side of that, I couldn’t live with myself, nor could any of the board members or any of the folks at Kraft or any of the previous board members, if we have a festival that knowingly puts someone’s life in jeopardy or potentially causes the spread of any virus.”

Sitzmore said she and other board members spent a lot of time working with different sponsors and health organizations trying to come up with a solution, but with no luck.

“I was super excited about the two boards coming together for a weekend drawing a variety of people to one common place, but it’s going to have to wait until 2021 for that to happen,” she said.


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