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Numbers add up to Kool-Aid success

Organizers considered the 22nd annual Kool-Aid Days festival to be another success as they released numbers from the event on Tuesday.

Jessica Rohan, president of the Kool-Aid Days board of directors, said thousands of people from the city and beyond came out to partake in the three-day event.

“It was a great weekend with great support from the community,” she said. “The number of individuals who participated in the numerous events and attended activities throughout Hastings over the weekend is amazing. This is probably one of the best we’ve ever had.”

More than 1,600 gallons of Kool-Aid were served over the weekend, much of that from the World’s Largest Kool-Aid Stand that offered 20 different flavors. The top five flavors over the weekend were Grape, Jamaica, Tropical Punch, Sharkleberry Fin and Cherry.

Other statistics from the press release include:

More than 50 parade entries marched downtown to kick off Saturday’s event.

The Cutest Kid Contest had more than 70 entrants.

Around 150 more experienced Kool-Aid drinkers played bingo during SeniorFest on Friday.

The Kool-Aid Classic Bike Ride had 268 registrations, the second largest number of riders in the last 19 years.

More than 100 people participated in the 5k Fun Run & Walk.

A total of 2,213 people attended Luke Mills and the fireworks show at Koncert Kool-Aid.

The Hastings Museum had more than 1,600 attendees over the weekend. Around 1,000 participants tried the limbo and ring toss activities with 127 trying the Egg Drop activity on Sunday.

Participants created 14 cardboard crafts for the Kardboard Boat Race.

Brian Hoffman, who organized the boat race, said 14 is the highest number of boats he had seen participate in the five years he has helped with the event.

“We had some great organizations make some boats this year,” he said. “The participants make this thing go every year.”

Rohan said the committee will meet later to discuss what went well and what they may want to change next year. She said planning for the 2020 festival will begin in September.

“It really is a year-long process,” she said. “We want to continue to improve.”

Along with the board and volunteers, Rohan thanked the sponsors of the festival for making it possible.

“That’s the biggest thing from the board’s perspective,” she said. “Kool-Aid Days wouldn’t be what it is without them.”

For more information about the festival, visit

PVAMA Antique & Collector Show on firm ground for weekend

AYR — Crews working overtime have stabilized the flooded Crystal Lake Recreation Area this week, clearing the way for the 36th annual Platte Valley Antique Machinery Association’s Antique & Collector Show scheduled for this weekend.

More than 100 antique tractors will be on display during the event, which attracts visitors from all over Nebraska and neighboring states to enjoy a glimpse at history and the machines that drove the farm communities of yesteryear.

The recreation area, which is managed by the village of Ayr and has been the PVAMA show venue for the last several years, nestles the Little Blue River north of Ayr.

“It (CLRA) was obviously flooded a couple times this year and was a mess, but we have it all up and ready to go,” said Pam Arterburn, event organizer. “There have been a lot of volunteer hours and time, and everything is up and going. We’re pretty well ready.”

Arterburn takes the lead reins of direction this year from Donna Wilton, who served multiple years in that role. A longtime supporter of the show, she remembers well attending the event years ago with her farmer father.

“I just like that everybody can come and see a piece of history,” she said. “That’s the main thing, (seeing) how it used to be.”

“Odd Balls and Orphans” is the theme for this year’s show, which will include a wide array of steam engine farming machinery on display, a garden equipment tractor pull, antique tractor pull, flag raising, church services, field demonstrations in blacksmithing, wheat threshing, stationary straw bailing and corn shelling, and live music by Matt Dwyer and other musicians.

The show grounds open at 7 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Admission is charged at the gate for those age 10 and up.

A tractor drive on Friday, departing from Crystal Lake at 1:30 p.m. and returning there later in the afternoon, will lead into the festivities.

The Saturday and Sunday schedules center on the antique tractor pulls that begin 11 a.m. each day (stock on Saturday, open on Sunday) and the parades of tractors and vehicles that begin both days at 3:30 p.m.

Additional attractions include a flea market and kids’ tractor pedal pull.

Food vendors will supplement the event’s kitchen, serving assorted treats and meals throughout the event, with homemade pie and ice cream among the offerings.

Hundreds of visitors of all ages are expected to join in the festivities, Arterburn said.

“I’m hoping we reach over 1,000,” she said. “That would be awesome!”

Participating volunteers include two area FFA chapters and the local Boy Scouts. Generous sponsors have provided several prizes for the super raffle, including an outdoor fountain, Husker artwork, drill bits, and other items. Hourly raffles will feature such items as hats, bag chairs, and other offerings.

The main attraction each year is the tractors, which hearken back to the days when farming was driven by steam engines and machinery of humble origins.

Farmers gather around the numerous tractors on display each year to share stories of their own experiences operating similar equipment, recalling stories of bumper crops and challenging circumstances that defined their finest memories in the field.

“This is the stuff our grandfathers and great-grandpas used,” Arterburn said. “It’s neat to see the total difference from then to now. It’s a piece of history that I’d hate to see us lose. I think it’s important for the kids to see it.”