After a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the stage is set for Great Bend’s Party in the Park on Saturday, Aug. 14. Monday night, the Great Bend City Council approved key pieces of the city-sponsored celebration held at Veterans Memorial Park.
Community Coordinator Christina Hayes said events start at 8:30 a.m. with the obstacle mud run, and the Oozefest mud volleyball tournament starts at 9. The party will conclude with a Ricky Fugitt concert from 6-7 p.m. (concert gates open at 6), Homebrew concert at 7:30 p.m., fireworks at 10 p.m. and the Sunny Sweeney concert at 10:30 p.m.
The rest of the day will be busy as well. Activities include:
• Mega Kite display all day
• Wet/Dry Parade on 17th St. Terrance at 10 a.m.
• Optimist Kids Fun Zone from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Paint in the Park – City Birdhouses, starting at 9:30 a.m.
• Kiwanis Anything That Floats Race at 11:30 a.m.
• Lunchtime food vendors
• Car show at 2 p.m.
• Sunflower Diversified Services Ride for Independence Poker Run ends/winners announced 2-3 p.m.
• Doughnut eating contest at 3 p.m.
Kiwanis President Frankie Pelster said the Anything That Floats Race is a new event and she hopes it will be well attended. Participants can use their imaginations to create a raft or enter “anything that floats” for a race at Veterans Lake. Registration forms will be available at City Hall.
The SDS Poker Run starts with registration at 10 a.m. at Dry Lake Brewing, 1305 Main, Great Bend. For more information and preregistration visit www.sunflowerdiv.com.
The Great Bend Recreation Commission is sponsoring the mega kite demonstration by Great American Kites and the Oozefest mud volleyball tournament. The volleyball tournament is open to anyone 16 years of age or older. Registration is $75 per team and is through the GBRC. Executive Director Diann Henderson said the kites have been at Party in the Park before but the last two times there wasn’t much wind. She hopes the conditions will be suitable for an impressive display in the sky and for others who want to fly their own kites.
Hayes said tickets to the concerts can be purchased at Party in the Park for $5 or at the gate for $10. Cash, checks and credit cards will be accepted.
The City Council Monday night approved a host of permissions for the event:
• The closure and blocking off of McKinley Street and 17th Street Terrace starting at 9:50 a.m. to allow for the third 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.
• The closure of 17th Street Terrace west of McKinley Street to White Sands Drive from after the parade to midnight to utilize for extra parking and to allow one-way traffic to be directed to the west. The street will be completely closed to all traffic (except to car show entries) 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 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 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 to the park, but there are a few that it’s just easier to drive down to the show.
• Allowing 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 cereal-malt beverages; 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.
The GBPD will help with traffic flow, parking and parade procedures.
Residents can show up for an activity or two, or can bring lawn chairs and coolers and make a day of it. “Party in the Park is planned and we are almost ready to pack the park,” Hayes said.
Dating back to 2013, the idea for the party stemmed from citywide festivals held in years gone by when citizens would gather in public places and celebrate summer, harvest or just the joys of living in a small town. Now, the city is bringing that vibe back.
City employees go all out for this. Many put in extra hours getting things ready or hanging around the day of to make sure it runs smoothly.
For more information, visit the Explore Great Bend Facebook page or email Hayes at email@example.com.