BY DALE HOGG
Making way for Great Bend’s Party in the Park Aug. 12, the Great Bend City Council Wednesday night approved key components of the annual city-sponsored celebration held at Veterans Memorial Park.
“I am really excited about Party in the Park and what we have planned,” Community Coordinator Christina Hayes said.”We’re changing things up little.”
The council approved:
• The closure and blocking off of McKinley Street and 17th Street Terrace starting at 9:50 a.m. to allow for the first-ever Great Bend Wet/Dry Parade. This will run east down 17th Street Terrace. The first half will be dry, but at the end, those watching who want to can exchange water volleys with participants.
“It’s basically a big water fight,” Hayes said. This is taking place in lieu of the mud run that had been a staple for the party in the past.
• The closure of 17th Street Terrace west of McKinley Street to White Sands Drive from after parade to midnight to utilize for extra parking and allow one-way traffic to be directed to the west and have the street completely closed to all traffic except to car show from McKinley Street to the low road coming from the park.
Traffic will only be allowed to go one way through Vets Park at the North entrance of the park and the exit on 17th Street Terrace.
• The discharge of fireworks in Vets on that day by contracted officials only for the fireworks display starting around 10 p.m. The display will be set up on the south peninsula of the lake by the big shelter house. That area will be closed off starting at 7 p.m. for safety and insurance purposes.
• Allowing non-street-legal cars that are affiliated with any car club to be able to preregister and travel no more than 12 blocks to get to the Party in the Park Car Show.
These cars will be parked for the duration of the car show and will be home before dark, especially if they don’t have working taillights or signals. Most of the cars will be trailered and delivered down to the park, but there are a few that it’s just easier to drive down to the show.
• Allowing 3.2 cereal malt beverages to be in the park for the day. The concerts will be over around 11:45 p.m., however city personnel will still have some time to clear out the crowd and also allow staff time for cleaning up and taking down past midnight.
Spectators can bring in coolers with 3.2 beer, no bottles or glass. There will be security with the Great Bend Police Department and the American Legion Riders to check IDs of those that bring in the coolers.
• To allow people to be in the park past midnight for cleanup.
Handicap transportation on golf carts will be available. The GBPD will help with traffic flow, parking and parade procedures.
Musical entertainment this year includes Emporia country singer Ricky Fugitt, Great Bend-based rock band Home Brew and Stillwater, Okla.-based country singer Jason Boland.
With the event just over a month away, Hayes said plans are still unfolding.
This marks the fifth year for the city-sponsored celebration. It is a chance for city officials to say thank you to the community. It is also a way to bring family activities back to Vets.