Hastings Gears Up for 17th Annual Kool-Aid Days - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Hastings Gears Up for 17th Annual Kool-Aid Days

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Celebrating all things Kool–Aid, the community of Hastings prepares to welcome tens of thousands of visitors to Kool-Aid Days 2014.

Car shows, boat races, a fun run, concerts and more are on the schedule. All because a food maker with a mind for marketing moved to Hastings to make flavored drink mixes.

"Right here in this building is where Kool–Aid was first manufactured by Edwin Perkins," Jody Jacobi said, pointing to the old warehouse on First Street.

Jacobi said the community has embraced the homegrown product enjoyed the world over.

"It is amazing when you travel, whether it's the United States or even foreign countries people do know it, so it's fun that's what we hang our hat on," she said.

What started 17 years ago as a one day event, can barely be contained to a single weekend.

Jacobi said, "Saturday's the day everybody knows, with 16 flavors drinks as much as you can stand."

Now in its 17th year, some things haven't changed. The event still has the world's largest Kool–Aid stand, and it's still just $2 to fill your mug, all you can drink.

"And for just that $2 mug you get to do all of that and go to the concert that night," Jacobi said. "Where else can you go and have all that for such little money?"

It's been estimated the event draws 20,000 people or more to the community, with a brand that spans generations.

"It is really fun to see Kool–Aid mustaches on all the faces, whether it's a 2 year old or a 90 year old, and everybody in between," Jacobi said.

They'll have more than a dozen of the most popular flavors.

"I like the red kind," a local boy said. "Cherry," his sister added.

They'll serve more than 2,000 gallons, a mug at a time.

It takes hundreds of folks to keep the smiles flowing, for this one weekend a year.

"5 p.m. Sunday it's over and us volunteers all just go ah, it's over and we start planning for next year," Jacobi said.

More volunteer help is still needed. Visit www.kool-aiddays.com to learn more.

The most popular flavor last year was not cherry or tropical punch, but mango followed by grape. Invisible watermelon kiwi is also a popular choice. 

2014 Kool-Aid Days Highlights:
Friday, August 8th

  • Jammers Boat Races - 5 p.m. at Aquacourt Water Park
  • Senior Fest - 2-4 p.m. at Hastings City Auditorium
  • KLUB Kool-Aid Sneak Pea - 6-8 p.m. at Hastings City Auditorium
Saturday, August 9th
  • World's Largest Kool-Aid Stand - 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. downtown
  • Kool-Aid Days Grand Parade - 9 a.m. downtown
  • CuteKid Contest - 12:30-1:30 p.m. downtown
  • Kwickest Kool-Aid Drinking Contest - 10:30 a.m. downtown
  • Koncert Kool-Aid - Larry Bluffett and the Son of a Sailor Band (Jimmy Buffett tribute) - 7:30 p.m. Brickyard Park

Sunday, August 9th

  • Kardboard Boat Races - 12-5 p.m. at Lake Hastings along with Family FunFest and Kool-Aid Days Run and Walk
For a complete list of events, visit www.kool-aiddays.com.

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