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
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
Grape winner: Josiah Parrish of Ogallala
Ice Blue Raspberry winner: Nora Olson of Red Cloud
Cherry winner: Leia Selvage of Lincoln
Grape winner: Harper Ashburn of Castle Rock, Colorado
Ice Blue Raspberry winner: Mila Lane of Hastings
Cherry winner: Kaylee Johnson of Hastings
Grape winner: Aundrea Aguilar of Grand Island
Ice Blue Raspberry winner: Joshua Fagiolo of Hastings
Cherry winner: Aaliyah Denniston of Trumbull
Grape winner: Aliviah Devitt of Hastings
Ice Blue Raspberry winner: Olivia Thiel of Hastings
Cherry winner: Lew Vrbas of Hastings