August 16, 2004
Even cool and cloudy weather could not keep hundreds of people from turning out for a refreshing dringk and entertainment at this year's Kool-Aid Days.
Anne Rohan, executiver director of the Hastings/Adas county convention and Visitors Bureau, said organizers were pleased with the turnout for all of the weekend's events.
"The cooler weather was very nice because the crowds seemed to stay longer, and it seemed in years past that the heat chased people away," Rohan said. "This year it seemed that we were busy right up until the last moment."
Saturday's event, with the theme "Kool-Aid on Ice," began with games and entertainment galore, as Kool-Aid man poured a large glass of Grape Illustion to kick off the event.
So, does Hastings truly have the world's largest Kool-Aid stand?
According to Erika Nelson, a researcher on the world's largest things. said the stand, which measures over 75 feet in length, is the largest she has ever seen.
"It's a genuine stand with sticks and a sign," Nelson said. "The most important part is that it looks like a stand."
Children enjoyed their favorite flavors of Kool-Aid whileplaying numerous games, including an inflatable Jump-A-Roo, a fishing pond and a dunk tank. Several contests brought entertainment for all, made a few thirsty and definitely made most of the audience just a little chilly.
The Kool-Aid Ice Plunge gave three contestants the chance to win cash by collecting golden coins from a tub of ice and water.
"That's cold cash," Ron Mangers of Hastings said while on stage to collect his $150 first prize. "Just prayed I could stay warm but it didn't work."
He was able to beat out the second- and third-place winners with at least 15 more coins than the other two contestants.
The Edible Art Contest, made many onlookers hungry, and gave Nelson, the judge, a chance to come up with some creative awards.
First pace for artistic merit and the "pig-out" award for edibility was given to Kirstin Morris of Hastings for creating the "Golden Tower," a miniature tower made of crystallized yellow Kool-Aid.
"I won't be able to stop eating it," Nelson said. "It's really good."
Other awards in the edibility category included "I otter bite it," "A fun excuse to eat," and "Don't eat it or you might die."
The second year of the Kwickest Kool-Aid Drinking Contest brought a new age group and lots more Kool-Aid. Fifteen contestants chugged glasses of their favorite flavor in the finals Saturday afternoon.
Drake LeBar, 5, won the 8-and-under age bracket, drinkinghisfavorite flavor, cherry, and 12.19 seconds. He won an official Kool-Aid stand and collectable pitcher.
Defending his title in the 16-and-older bracket, Jacob Martikainen, 16, won again this year in 7.5 seconds. Not only did he come out as champion for a second year, but he also won a pizza a week for the next six months, which he planned to share with friends.
Sunday's event,"Before The Ice Age,"brought people of all ages out to the Hastings Museum for games, free Kool-Aid, and a chance to learn the story behind Kool-Aid.
With people filling the front lawn and the building, the most popular attractions were the Kool-Aid:Discover the Cream exhibit, which is up year-round, and the Dino reunion, which became extinct after Sunday.
Overall, Hastings was invaded by Kool-Aid mania this weekend, andthat is exactly what organizers were hoping for.
"I'm glad to see another community making a world's largest thing out of their claim to fame," Nelson said.
Rohan said Kool-Aid Days wouldn't have happened without the hundreds of volunteers who helped all weekend.
"It is truly a citywide festival to honor the contributions of (Kool-Aid inventor) Edwin Perkings andhis family," she said.
The winner's in Saturday's contests are as follows:
Kool-Aid Ice Plunge
First -Ron Mangers, Hastings
Second - wendy Buhr, Hastings
Third - Katie Stucky, Pratt, Kan.
Edible Art Contest
First - Kirstin Morris, Hastings
Second - Charles Brummett, Fairfield
Third - Morris
Clunker Award - Rachel Rohan, Hastings
Do-Not-Shake Award - Shay Graves, Hastings
"I otter bite it" award - Morris
"Pig-Out" award - Morris
"Tried harder" award - Rohan
"Fun excuse to eat" award - Graves
"Eat it and you might die" award - Brummett
Kool-Aid Drinking Contest
8 and under
First - Drake LeBar, 5, 12.19 seconds
Second - Garrett Portenier, 7, 12.78 seconds
First - Andrew Dixon, 15, 5.34 seconds
Second - Tres Cusatis, 13, 5.58 seconds
16 and older
First Jacob Martikainen, 16, 7.5 seconds
Second - Joseph Marten, 25, 9.65 seconds
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