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Watts, Dumler to attend ‘Bigger and Better’ 125th Hoisington Labor Day

HOISINGTON — Patricia Watts, author of “South of the Tracks,” and Doug Dumler, a former National Football League player originally from Hoisington, will highlight this year’s 125th annual Labor Day Sept. 4-7.

With the regular line-up of events plus some new ones, the theme will be “Bigger and Better than ever Before,” Karen Baldyga, executive vice-president of the Hoisington Chamber of Commerce, said.

Watts will be present Sunday for an ice cream social at the Hoisington Historical Society. Watts will autograph books and there will be some available for purchase. 

It will be a fundraiser for the Historical Society. Watts will also be in the parade Monday.

Watt’s book describes her years as an African American living in South Hoisington during the 1950s and 1960s. Her life began in Louisiana where her father was a sharecropper. Life on the farm was very difficult, and the family eventually moved to Hoisington. Throughout it all, Watts’ parents showed love and respect for themselves, their children and others.

Dumler was born in Hoisington while his father was the basketball coach at Hoisington High School. He played with the Patriots and the Vikings in the 1970s, and he will bring some National Championship and Super Bowl rings to view. 

He will be present at the Friday night barbecue for a meet and greet, the ice cream social, and the parade.

The family of Billy Kimble will also be present during the weekend. Kimble, who died in 2019, scored many track records during his years in Hoisington that will never be broken because they were set in yards and miles while today, meters and kilometers are used.

With many events canceled during 2020, Hoisington held a different celebration with a reverse parade where residents decorated their lawns with a theme. Prizes were awarded.

“Sometimes when you have to make these hard decisions and changes, it opens your eyes up to other possibilities,” Baldyga said. “It also reminds the community and organizers why they do it, because it brings everybody together.

“I think that 2020 with people not being able to get together, we came out of that realizing how much and how important it is to do these types of community events. You don’t realize how much you miss something until you can’t have it.”

Another new event, the Eli Mosley band, a country music band from South Florida, will play Saturday night. Sponsored by Wilson State Bank, the cost of a ticket is $10.

Also new from last year, a poker run that is a game of skill will be held Saturday afternoon.

The beer garden will be available much of the weekend at chamber hosted events, and the carnival will be downtown with some additional food vendors.

“The Midway will offer unique and carnival staples,” Baldyga said. This includes funnel cakes, barbecue, corn dogs, kettle corn.

The traditional events will also be held including the KidStop Saturday morning, the Demolition Derby Sunday, the Downtown Street Market, Bubba’s BBQ Cookoff, the parade, and Sunday night Street Dance featuring Homebrew.