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Sweet Celebration

By: Ruth Nicolaus

Rodeo, Kool-Aid Days to share dates, location at the Adams Co. Fairgrounds in Hastings

The 2021 Kool-Aid Days logo, e-LEMON-ator, reflects the shared location and dates for the Kool-Aid Days and the Oregon Trail Rodeo. The two events will take place August 20-22 at the Adams County Fairgrounds in Hastings, Neb.

Hastings, Neb. – Two annual Hastings events will share the same location and same days next week.

The Oregon Trail Rodeo and Kool-Aid Days will be held in Hastings, Neb., at the Adams County Fairgrounds. Both events run August 20-22.

The rodeo takes place in the evenings of the three days; Kool-Aid days activities encompass the daytimes, pause for the rodeo, and, on Saturday, August 21, continue after the rodeo ends.

It’s a sweet combination, said Marissa Sitzmore, organizer for Kool-Aid Days and president of the board of directors for the World Soft Drink Federation. “I’m excited to see the two events, side by side.”

Kool-Aid Days and the rodeo are not combining forces, just sharing a location and dates, which both groups think will be beneficial.

“We’ve made a conscious effort to keep the festivals separate, to keep their individuality. Yet we’ll be able to target an audience that may have never seen the other side,” Sitzmore said. “People from Chicago may come to see the World’s Largest Kool-Aid stand, and they may never have seen a horse or a cow, let alone a rodeo.”

Miss Rodeo Nebraska carries the American flag at the Oregon Trail Rodeo in Hastings, Neb. This year, Kool-Aid Days will be held at the same location, the Adams Co. Fairgrounds, on the same days. Photo by Anita Burcham.

Scott Hinrichs, chairman for the Oregon Trail Rodeo, agreed. The shared dates and location “allow a different audience to see another Nebraska tradition: rodeo. Kool-Aid was invented in Hastings, and it’s neat to see two Nebraska customs side by side.”

Kool-Aid Days have traditionally been held in downtown Hastings the second weekend in August. The move to the third weekend and the Adams County Fairgrounds, gives festival attendees more room for events and for parking, Sitzmore said. Some Kool-Aid Days activities will be held at different locations around Hastings; many of them are at the fairgrounds. The Kool-Aid Days trolley will transport attendees for free between all events downtown, at the fairgrounds, Lochland Country Club, and the Hastings Museum.

The rodeo takes place at 7 pm on August 20-21 and at 5 pm on August 22.

Kool-Aid Days activities run throughout the three days, and include a Kool-Aid Days Grand Parade at 10 am on August 20; the World’s Largest Kool-Aid Stand, featuring 24 flavors (some sugar-free) at the fairgrounds; giant inflatables and indoor games (fairgrounds); the Kwickest Kool-Aid Drinking Contest (fairgrounds) and more.

Fireworks will take place after the August 21 night of rodeo, along with live music by the Blue Collar Band, at the fairgrounds.

For a complete schedule of Kool-Aid Days activities, visit www.Kool-AidDays.com.

To purchase rodeo tickets, visit www.AdamsCountyFairgrounds.com. Rodeo tickets range in price from $5-$20

For more information on the rodeo, visit the website or call the Adams Co. Fairgrounds office at 402.462.3247.