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June Jaunt continues
June Jaunt girl in gyro slt
A girl prepares to be spun in a gyro ride, Saturday at June Jaunt. - photo by Susan Thacker

Crowds came downtown Friday and Saturday for the K-96 June Jaunt activities. There was a free movie, jumbo yard games, vendors and entertainment. Events were also held at other locations, including the Great Bend Public Library; the MACK model airplane airport; and Al Burns Memorial Field, where the Bat Cats played their first season game.

June Jaunt began eight years ago to showcase communities along K-96 from Great Bend to Tribune during the first weekend in June. Dighton, Scott City and Leoti are also included in the promotion.

Matthew the Magician, part of Saturday’s entertainment in the courthouse square, said he was also in Great Bend for the first June Jaunt.

Great Bend Public Works Director Simon Wiley, who moved here last August, was attending his first June Jaunt but got in the swing of things by bringing a 1968 Volkswagen bus to the car show. Wiley said he rebuilt the motor and eventually plans to sell the bus, which also doubles as a camper and comes with some artwork circa 1968.

The Holinde family won the Business/Family Olympics. Christina Hayes, Great Bend community coordinator, said this was the first year that the Olympics competition was open to families as well as businesses. Hayes said the Holinde family is known for finding all of the hidden badges every year in the Chief’s Badge Hunt, so this year she asked them to try something new and enter the contest. Events included bike riding and cup stacking.

Nichelle and Daniel Holinde and their children Zander and Branson had the winning team, even though it was the only team with two children competing. Other entries were Adams Brown Beran and Ball, Sunflower Diversified Services, CUNA Mutual, the City of Great Bend (a team of staff and council members) and a group of four friends known at the Friends Team.

Another June Jaunt event that was scheduled for Saturday was Great Bend’s Strongest/Fittest Competition. That event was canceled, according to Great Bend City Councilman Dan Heath, because those who would normally enter were busy cleaning up flooded basements after the recent rains. “Instead of pumping iron they are pumping water,” he said. 

June Jaunt continues Sunday. The Chief’s Badge Hunt consists of two badges (police and fire) hidden somewhere in Great Bend each day of June Jaunt. Clues are posted at 8 a.m., noon and 6 p.m. on the Explore Great Bend page on Facebook. Whoever finds a badge first leaves a card to let others know it was found; the winners get $50 to spend in any store in Great Bend, Hayes said.

Today is also a great day for fishing or picnicking in Great Bend, or visiting the Brit Spaugh Zoo or Wetlands Waterpark, she said.

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism declared  Saturday and Sunday, June 1 and 2, “Free Fishing Days.” People can fish without a fishing license at any public waters in Kansas.