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'Home Sweet Hoisington' theme for Labor Day
Idaho Potato truck to make stop in Hoisington

HOISINGTON — Hoisington is renown for its Labor Day Parade, the oldest continuous parade of its kind in the state of Kansas, with this the 122nd year in a row. This year’s theme is “Home Sweet Hoisington.” 

Karen Baldyga is the director of the Hoisington Chamber of Commerce. She works closely with committees organizing the unique parade, as well as the four-day celebration weekend. 

“We want people to remember that no matter how long you’ve lived here, whether or not you’ve moved away, Hoisington is always home, and it always makes you feel like home,” she said. 

The four-day celebration starts Friday, Aug. 31, with a community tailgate barbecue before the Hoisington Cardinals home football game. After the game, visit the beer garden downtown starting at 9 p.m., where live music will be performed by A Fine Kettle of Fish, also known as Ochs Family and Friends.  

Bikes and barbecue

Saturday, Sept. 1, will be packed with things to do. First, starting at 7 a.m. a community-wide garage sale is planned, and maps will be available Friday from the Hoisington Chamber of Commerce. At the same time, contestants in the “Bubba’s 7th Annual BBQ Cook-off will start their smokers at the Manweiler Chevrolet parking lot. Contact the Hoisington Chamber of Commerce for registration information. After 1:30 p.m., visitors can sample food for $5, with half the proceeds to be donated to Kans for Kids Fighting Cancer Foundation. 

Clara Barton’s second annual Bottom’s Up Bike Ride gets started at 7:30 a.m., with a one-mile fun ride for families with kids and a 30-mile round-trip ride for the more experienced. Both rides begin at the Bicentennial Park loop. Families will pedal around the loop, while the rest of the riders will set off on paved county roads traveling past Beaver and Odin. SAG will be waiting at the Odin Store. Water and refreshments will be provided. While it’s too late to get the T-shirt, riders are still welcome to register up to the day of the race at a discounted price. Go to the Hoisington Chamber of Commerce website for more information.


If biking and barbecue aren’t your thing, at 8 a.m., the 9th Annual USD 431 Educational Foundation Come and Go Scholarship Golf Tournament tees off at Lake Barton. Registration forms available through the Chamber of Commerce. For more information, contact USD 431 Superintendent Bill Lowry at the District office. 

Kids activities all in one place

Families finishing up their rides, and those just getting started for the day, are invited to head to the Hoisington Activity Center where several events are planned for the morning starting with the turtle races (bring your own turtle) and kids (again, bring your own) races at 9 a.m. 

At 9:30 a.m., the 4th annual Touch-a-Truck event gets underway. 

“We’re trying to do all the kids events in the same space to make things easier for parents,” Baldyga said. 

Touch-a-Truck continues to be a popular event for kids of all ages. The hands-on activity encourages climbing, touching and exploring the many vehicles used by the city, in agriculture, and other industries throughout the county. This year, the Idaho Potato Truck is scheduled to make an appearance. 

“It’s basically a giant potato on a truck, and they come with some “spuds” who meet with the public,” Baldyga said. The truck will be in Hoisington for the whole weekend, parked in various places along Main Street, in addition to its appearance at Touch-a-Truck. It will be in the parade as well.

“One of the cool things about the Idaho Potato Truck is they like to get up to 500 signatures to raise $500 for a particular charity in the communities it visits,” Baldyga said. Hoisington’s GPS Kids Club will benefit from Hoisington’s event, she added. 

New this year will be the craft stations for kids 3-11 years old. This will be a free indoor activity, conducted inside the Hoisington Activity Center. 

Family night

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Hoisington’s Main Street will transform into a vendor’s market. From First to Second Streets, vendors will line the sides of the street, and down the middle.

And, starting at noon, grab some friends and head to 7th and Main Street to take part in a Dodgeball Tournament, starting at 1 p.m. 

This year, instead of a street dance as in years past, Saturday night will be Family Night. Families are encouraged to ride Wee Carnival amusement rides, go out to eat in Hoisington’s restaurants, and attend the various class reunions planned. Helicopter rides will once again be available from DWTA, a Wichita-based commercial helicopter service.

Cate’s Carquest will host the Thunder in the Wetlands Cruise Night classic car show starting at 6 p.m., and from 6-10 p.m. Register at Manweiler Chevrolet. And, just south of the tracks on Main Street, Warrior Motorsports will provide Monster Truck rides. Be sure to stick around for the Thunder in the Wetlands fireworks display after dark. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, and live music will accompany the display. 

Demo Derby returns; Kids get into act

Sunday, the 34th annual Kansas State Demolition Derby at the Bicentennial Park. But, this year kids can get into the spirit with the first ever Kids Power Wheel Demolition Derby. This event starts at 1 p.m. and will kick off the main event. Rules are detailed, but basically, single-passenger vehicles limited to 6 or 12 volt power wheels may participate. Kids must wear helmets (bike helmets are good), and no modifications beyond paint will be allowed. (Let the kids have some fun!) Seat belts are recommended. No passengers will be allowed. 


Adopt a star

Sunday night, Monster Truck rides and carnival rides return to Main Street. Home Brew will be the featured band at the downtown street dance and beer garden. 

Throughout the weekend, Adopt-a-Star opportunities will also be available. Individuals and groups can put their name on a star that will light up Main Street during the Christmas season. This year, stars are being retrofitted with LED lights, replacing the older incandescent bulbs. It is sure to be a spectacular sight when winter makes its annual appearance once more. 

Walk, run, watch

Early risers are invited to strap on their shoes make their way to the starting line at the Hoisington Activity Center for the annual Labor Day 5K/10K Run/Walk, starting at 7:30 a.m. 

Barnard Tire and Automotive will sponsor the weekend’s second classic car show, after the parade. Register at the Hoisington Chamber of Commerce office at 9 a.m. that morning. 

The Kids Parade happens on Monday morning at 10:10 a.m., followed by the 34th Annual Labor Day Parade starting at 10:30 a.m. Both parades lineup at the Hoisington High School parking lot. All year long, the Hoisington Clown Committee raises money to purchase toys for kids of all ages, and they are distributed to children lining the street at the parade. A Color Guard and many area marching bands will be part of the spectacle, making it also one of the most musical parades in the area. 

Hydration stations will be available throughout the parade route, and members of the Labor Day Clown Committee and the Hoisington EMS will distribute water to the crowd. 

Amusement rides and food vendors will open again for the afternoon, and he Golden Belt Model Train Club will have model trains on display in one of the storefronts downtown. According to Baldyga, the Hoisington Historical Society Museum, normally open by appointment, will be open to the public to drop in that afternoon.