Great Bend’s Party in the Park is Saturday, Aug. 10, at Veterans Memorial Park. Like its name suggests, everyone is welcome to this largest celebration of the summer. It’s all about families and friends meeting up in the park to take part in races and friendly competitions with plenty of kid-centric fun, exciting displays, car shows, live music and cheat-worthy treats thrown in, topped off with fireworks and live music under the stars.
Down and dirty
Don’t worry, you can still sleep in on Saturday, at least until 8. You’ll want to be at the park at 8:30 a.m. to witness the 2019 Tuff Enuff obstacle mud run (7:30 a.m. check in if you want to participate). Individuals, teams and families will run 1.5 miles, conquering obstacles including mud the entire way. Registration forms are available at the City of Great Bend offices, or online at https://fs28.formsite.com/fieldhousegb/TuffEnuff/index.html.
The Oozefest Mud Volleyball tournament returns, starting at 9 a.m. by the walking path and dog park. Teams of six face off in four mud pits in a double elimination tournament with rally scoring to 15, best two of three matches. Hosted in partnership with the City of Great Bend and the Great Bend Rec, the deadline for teams to sign up is Thursday, Aug. 8, and registration forms are available at the city office or online at greatbendrec.com. That’s also where brackets and team rosters will be available. Registrations can also be taken over the phone at 620-793-3755.
Good clean fun
Don’t forget to bring a change of clothes. There’s just enough time to clean up and head over to 17th Terrace at the south side of the playground for the Party in the Park Wet/Dry Parade at 10 a.m. Parade staging will be on 17th St. Terrace east of McKinley Street. The parade starts out dry, from McKinley to the park drive. There, those who wish to remain dry will turn off. The rest of the parade entries, including all semi-trucks, will continue west to the wet area of the parade, where it’s anything goes as far as water is concerned to the end of the parade route. Even spectators are encouraged to dress up and be creative. Prizes will be awarded for the best wet/dry entry and for the best spectator.
Barb Esfeld with the Great Bend Kiwanis Club said members will be helping with the canoe races that are set to take place immediately after the Wet-Dry Parade, around 10:30 a.m. People have to bring their own canoes and kayaks for the races, and life jackets are required. Registration starts at 10 a.m. on the east side of the lake by the small dock shelter.
The Wet-Dry Parade has been growing in popularity, Esfeld said, especially on the “wet” side.
“It’s really fun. Great Bend is ‘missing the boat,’ so to speak, if we don’t do it,” Esfeld said. “The kids love it – it’s just a big water fight with the adults!”
Again, participants need to bring their own water guns and soak toys, Esfeld said. However, there will be tanks of water available along the route for refills.
Go fly a kite
Later in the morning, mega kites will fill the air from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., courtesy of Great American Kites and Events. Giant whales, horses, dogs and more fill the sky, and have been featured on CBS Sunday morning.
The Great Bend Optimist Club’s kids fun zone will also be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., allowing kids a safe place to burn off energy and provide parents a chance to relax or enjoy lunch from one of the vendors.
In a pickle
It wouldn’t be Party in the Park without some type of eating contest. This year the first five to sign up in three categories will vie for first place in a pickle eating contest starting at 3 p.m. at the pavilion located on the south side of Veterans Lake. Categories include individual adults and couples, as well as kids under 18 (with parental permission and presence).
The contest is all about speed. According to the official rules included with the registration form, available at the city office, the first person to finish his or her pickle feast and stand up will be declared the winner. According to Hayes, basic dills will be the pickle of choice at the tournament.
Car show with a twist
The Party in the Park free car show check in and registration starts at 2 p.m. and runs until 6 p.m. when the concert at the Veterans Park baseball field starts.
This year, a new category, “Off Road Vehicles” offers something new and different. Awards will be presented to the top five off-road vehicles.
Awards for the traditional car show entries will include car club awards from the four local clubs participating: Sunflower Rod and Custom Association, Mid-America Car Club, Santa Fe Trail Auto Club and Vintage Wheels of Great Bend. There will also be awards presented to the Top 25, and Best in Show.
Concert and fireworks
A Party in the Park tradition has become the live concert at the Veterans Park baseball fields. This year, an all-country lineup includes entertainers Alex Moyers, Mountain Deer Revival and Dirty River Boys. There’s still time to get advanced tickets for $5 each at the city offices, or you can get them at the gate for $10. Purchase with a credit or debit card, and a $1 fee will be added per transaction.
Moyers grew up in Great Bend, attended college at Fort Hays State University, and teaches art at Abilene High School. He’s a singer and songwriter who creates soulful acoustic songs. Moyers performance last year at Party in the Park, with positive reviews. He also performed at June Jaunt. Check out his music, including a new recording recently posted to Moyers’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/AlexMoyersMusic/videos/2083018205340182/UzpfSTUwOTY4MTcyNjoxMDE1NzI1MDI2NTgwMTcyNw/).
Mountain Deer Revival hails from Wichita, and plays Red Dirt style music. A popular touring band throughout Kansas and parts of Nebraska, Missouri and Oklahoma, their lyrical storytelling evokes dirt roads, gritty scenes and a deep range of emotions.
The high energy Dirty River Boys, who describe their style as “Texas punk-Americana,” are based in Austin, Texas. They are making stops in Craig, Colo., and Great Bend before returning to Texas for a grueling two-month, 15 city tour. The fireworks will be at 10 p.m., and will shoot up over the water, Hayes said. Bring your chairs and coolers, and remember — no glass allowed.