Crowds participated in a plethora of activities in the spirit of fun on Saturday for the pinnacle of the annual Kool-Aid Days celebration.

Some of the thirstiest competitors partook in the Kwickest Kool-Aid Drinking Contest.

Kailey Goodrich, 11, of Hastings wanted to join the contest to compete against others — and drink more Kool-Aid. She was second in her heat of contestants.

“My friend beat me by a millisecond,” she said. “If I didn’t take a breath, I could have won.”

For some, it was just being able to down the entire cup of Kool-Aid.

“I drank it all,” proclaimed Zane Brown, 4, of Beatrice.

His mother, Stacie, said the family came up to spend the day with her sister at the festival. When they heard about the quickest drinking contest, Zane and his older brother, Kashton, 7, decided they wanted to give it a shot.

Contestants were divided into four age categories with each bracket requiring a larger amount of Kool-Aid to be consumed. Those 6 and younger drank an 8-ounce cup and the 7-11 category finished 12 ounces. Competitors in ages 12-16 had to consume a 20-ounce glass while those in the adult category had to chug 32 ounces of the sugary drink.

Ella Quintard, 14, of Glenvil said she was a little intimidated by the size of the 20 ounces she had to gulp for the event.

“I think I did pretty good, considering I was against all boys,” she said.

The 32 ounces in the adult category only lasted four seconds for the fastest competitors. Antonio Hernandez of Sutton chugged his cup in 4.47 seconds, winning the contest for the fourth year in a row.

“I never even practiced,” he said.

Hernandez narrowly defeated Alex Kleinjan of Hastings, who finished in 4.66 seconds.

Kleinjan said he tried a couple practice runs the night before the contest. He won the contest two years ago when he competed in the 12-16 category.

“People have fun with it,” he said. “There’s always some good-natured ribbing too.”

Andrea Melendez organized the event for the Kool-Aid Days board.

“The adults never cease to amaze me,” she said. “It’s fun to watch the little kids get their competition side on. Sometimes they don’t know how to react or what to do. It’s funny to watch.”

Kwickest Kool-Aid Drinking Contest winners

Under 7

1. Kinsley Meyers of Grand Island

2. Zevyn Hahn of Grand Island

3. Zane Brown of Beatrice


1. Elijah Bumgardner of Hastings

2. Calvin King of Hastings

3. Joshua Fagiolo of Hastings


1. Jonah Fagiolo of Hastings

2. Jordy Baland of Grand Island

3. Treygan Runnells of Kearney

17 and older

1. Antonio Hernandez of Sutton

2. Alex Kleinjan of Hastings

3. Stone Powell of Hastings

Cutest Kid Contest winners

Cutest Boy: Jack Collett of Eden Prairie, Minnesota

Cutest Girl: Kinsley Duden of Hastings

Up to 1 year

Grape winner: Madelyn Olson of Hastings

Ice Blue Raspberry winner: Gracelyn Duden of Hastings

Cherry winner: Violet Billesbach of Juniata

1-3 years

Grape winner: Josiah Parrish of Ogallala

Ice Blue Raspberry winner: Nora Olson of Red Cloud

Cherry winner: Leia Selvage of Lincoln

4-6 years

Grape winner: Harper Ashburn of Castle Rock, Colorado

Ice Blue Raspberry winner: Mila Lane of Hastings

Cherry winner: Kaylee Johnson of Hastings

7-9 years

Grape winner: Aundrea Aguilar of Grand Island

Ice Blue Raspberry winner: Joshua Fagiolo of Hastings

Cherry winner: Aaliyah Denniston of Trumbull

Most photogenic

Grape winner: Aliviah Devitt of Hastings

Ice Blue Raspberry winner: Olivia Thiel of Hastings

Cherry winner: Lew Vrbas of Hastings


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