The stage is set for Great Bend’s Party in the Park on Saturday, Aug. 10, as the Great Bend City Council Monday night approved key pieces of the seventh-annual city-sponsored celebration held at Veterans Memorial Park.
A more detailed schedule of events will be announced at the next council meeting on July 15, Great Bend Community Coordinator Christina Hayes said.
In the meantime, the council OKed:
• 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 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 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.