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Party in the Park worth the effort
Fourth-annual event successful
new deh party park update pic web
The mud volleyball tournament is a staple of Great Bends annual Party in the Park. Organizers say this years event was a big success. - photo by RUSS EDEM Great Bend Tribune

 Sure, it takes a lot of work to throw an event like the City of Great Bend’s Party in the Park. But, Community Coordinator Christina Hayes and the host of city employees involved don’t seem to mind.

“It is worth the effort to do these festivals,” she said. She was addressing the City Council Monday night offering a recap of the activities that took place last Saturday at Veterans Memorial Park.

In its fourth year, the party is sponsored by the city. It was conceived as a way for officials to say thank you to the community.

Hayes said she has had Great Bend High School alumni classes contacting her about planning their reunions in conjunction with the event. “Those are the things that give you goosebumps.”

She then went through the various festivities one by one. “It was an incredible success.”

First was the Tough Enough obstacle race. There were 100 participants this year, she said.

Although there was some confusion at the start, every one had a good time. “It was a great event,” Hayes said.

Next was the mud volleyball tournament. It started at 9:30 a.m. and wrapped up at 4 p.m.

Hayes said that was earlier than in the past. They like to see it last until 7 or 8 p.m. so folks are around to take in the later activities.

Perhaps, she said, they need to recruit more teams or not have four mud pits.

However, Hayes said the city staff did a wonderful job making those pits. “If mud volleyball was an Olympic event, these guys would make the pits.”

New this year were the canoe and kayak races held with the help of the Great Bend Kiwanis Club. Hayes said there were three of each entered and the races ran concurrently.

She hopes to grow this and make it an annual event. Plans include reviving the Mayors Cup and the anything-that-floats race, complete with the traveling trophy.

Even though there was no event scheduled for the dog park, Hayes said city staff installed make-shift obstacles at the facility for the general public to use. These were popular enough that the city is considering making some permanent features.

The concert drew 736 attendees. “That’s a good number. People had a great time.”

It was followed by the fireworks display. “It was awesome,” Hayes said.

The car show attracted 125 entrants and organizers went through 300 free root beer floats in short order. The four Top Choice Awards went to Randy Vonfeldt with a 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner, Curtis Peterson with a 1965 Oldsmobile 442 convertible, Robin Proffitt with a 1965 Pontiac GTO and Bernie Rabenseifner with at 1970 Ford Torino Cobra Jet. 

In addition, there were 40 other cars recognized.

Hayes’ favorite part of the day was the Twinkie eating contest where the participants could not use their hands. The highlight was 10-year-old Kynslee White beating several older boys in the 17-and-under competition. Scott Marcic won the older division.

There were other activities with wadding pools, games and bounce houses. All were big hits, she said.

She concluded her presentation by showing the video of the party shot by Aaron Mull. It incorporated footage shot from the ground and from an aerial drone.

“Kudos to you for letting us do this,” Hayes told the council.