By Steve White, Grand Island Bureau Chief - bio | email
Kool-Aid Days will be "Truly Tropical" in 2014, for the 17th annual festival in Hastings.
The event that celebrates the official soft drink of Nebraska will be held the second weekend of August, from the 8th to the 10th.
The popular drink was invented by Nebraskan Edwin E. Perkins, and was first manufactured in Hastings. The community celebrates with a festival that includes the World's Largest Kool-Aid Stand, a parade, concert and other activities.
This year’s festival theme is “Truly Tropical” and has a logo that features Kool-Aid Man with a surfboard surrounded by palm trees and tropical fruits and flowers.
The logo will be featured on collectible items including t-shirts and the festival mugs. The $2 mugs allow visitors to drink as much Kool-Aid as they wish from the giant Kool-Aid Stand all weekend.
In 2013, the Kool-Aid stand got even larger and now features 16 different flavors of Kool-Aid. T-shirts, mugs and other Kool-Aid "Kollectibles" will be available for sale online and in local retail outlets the first week in June.
The Truly Tropical logo will also be carried through to many of the festival activities as participants in the Jammers Boat Races, the Grand Parade and the Kardboard Boat races are always encouraged to decorate their entry according to the festival theme. Entry forms for these and other events are available on the festival website: www.kool-aiddays.com.
The Kool-Aid Days Festival activities start on Saturday, Aug. 2 with the crowning of the third Miss Kool-Aid Days. The pageant is a part of the Miss America organization and is a preliminary for the Miss Nebraska pageant. The pageant will be held at the Hastings High School Auditorium.
The newly crowned Miss Kool-Aid Days will then return to Hastings to host the three-day festival the following weekend. Over 35 family-friendly activities are held at various locations in Hastings, beginning with a Senior Fest at the Hastings City Auditorium on Friday, Aug. 8 and ending with the Kardboard Boat Races at Lake Hastings on Sunday, Aug. 10.