HASTINGS — A three-day event celebrating Nebraska’s official soft drink kicks off Friday in Hastings.
Kool-Aid Days, in honor of the beverage invented by Edwin E. Perkins in the 1920s in Hastings, kicks off Friday with activities at the Hastings Museum, City Auditorium and other locations around town. The 2019 theme is “Jamaican Me Smile.”
A Senior Fest on Friday, for kids at heart who are age 55 and older, will be from 2 to 4 p.m. at the auditorium. Entertainment will be provided by Rascal Martinez and the Classic Country Cloggers; there is no admission charge.
Hastings Museum will host a weekend of family fun Friday, Saturday and Sunday with special admission prices and lots of activities for kids and families.
Saturday’s activities start with a bicycle tour with routes of 20, 40 or 65 miles on paved roads around the Hastings area. Registration starts at 7 a.m. at Highland Park; ride starts at 8.
Other events around town include a farmers market from 8 a.m. to noon in the parking lot behind the Hastings Museum; a Show and Shine Car Show from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lochland Country Club; and the Kool-Aid Cruise starting at 4:30 p.m. from Lochland.
The festival grounds in downtown Hastings will be hopping with the World’s Largest Kool-Aid Stand, food vendors, live entertainment featuring local and area artists from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the main stage; games and activities in the auditorium from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; an arts and crafts show; inflatables and more.
The festival’s Grand Parade will start at 9 a.m. along Second Street and will feature a special guest: Kool-Aid Man.
Saturday evening activities move to Brickyard Park (yes, the Kool-Aid stand is moving too!) and will feature a concert from Nebraska country artist Luke Mills and a fireworks spectacular. Admission to the concert is free with Kool-Aid Days 2019 mug or shirt or $2 (includes a coupon for a mug). Gates open at 6 p.m., opening act starts at 7 and Mills takes the stage at 8. Fireworks will follow the concert.
Most of Sunday’s activities will take place at Lake Hastings, but a local bowling alley will host a classic car show to raise money for Nebraska high school bowlers. “Fun in the Sun” car show will be from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Pastime Lanes bowling alley. Hastings Museum will also continue its special Family Fun activities.
Activities at Lake Hastings include the 5K Fun Run and one-mile walk (7:30 a.m. registration, 9 a.m. run); the Kool-Aid stand will be open from noon until the boat races end, and of course, the annual Kool-Aid Kardboard Boat Races. Boats go on display at noon and race heats begin at 2 p.m.
For a complete schedule of events, check online at www.kool-aiddays.com