By Adam Strunk
Greg Hanson, the brains and organizer of the Sand Creek Summer Daze, had the festival go big last year, and drew a crowd of about 1,000 to the weekend worth of events, competitions and concerts.
And now, after a year of listening, planning and tweaking, he’s hoping to go larger. The festival will take place August 16 and 17.
“With the help of the Newton business community, almost all the competitions and concerts are free,” Hanson said.
For a $5 button, Hanson said event goers will be able to attend nearly anything they want, from concerts to magic shows, to pirate sword fights, to regional barbecue competitions and other events, such as the cardboard regatta competition.
He said those under 5 did not need a button and said that anyone with a family in Newton should want to attend the event just for the kids festival that’s part of it.
“The kids’ area is huge,” he said. “The largest part of the festival is for kids and the kids’ area is open from 10 to 3 (on Saturday).”
He rattled off the attractions for kids, from a real pirate ship with pirates they could fight with Nerf swords, to multiple bounce houses and inflatable obstacle courses provided by the Newton YMCA. He said there would be face painting, Hot Wheels racing, puppet shows, ring toss, the fire department and police, as well as a county election booth where kids can practice voting.
Afterward will be a magic show at 3 p.m.
“There’s a regional magician from Kansas City,” he said. “Magic shows are really special. We do have a lot here in Newton. We expect that to be a very nice draw.” (CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE EVENT GUIDE)
For the adults there will be two concerts, one Friday night in the barbecue area and the other at the Band Shell Saturday night. The Saturday night concert features The Haymakers – which has performed at Newton’s Blues Brews and Barbecue festival, as well as classic rock sounds of Sleepy Truckers, and finally ending with the 80s rock of Epic Rocks.
The event opens up with a parade and free barbecue for the first 350 event goers having a button.
On Saturday, the real barbecue competition kicks off with a total purse of $6,600. So far, 19 teams from three states have signed up.
The one event that people will have to pay for – in part due to state alcohol regulations – will be the Hard Redz Summer Brew Off. He said he already has a dozen teams signed up for the event and they are bringing multiple beer styles. For a $10 ticket, people can go try and publicly judge all those beers, as well as receive a coupon for a free beer and popcorn from the concession stand.
“That’s a lot of kinds of beers,” he said. “Each team is going to take 2-3 beers. I think we’ll have over 30 beers for that.”
The event will feature fundraisers as well, such as a dunk tank raising money for Harvey County United Way – look for this article’s author when you’re out and about.
Hanson said in all, this year’s event should be a large step up on last year’s, thanks to local sponsorship, as well as experience and knowledge.
“We’ve been able to buy more things for the festival, more tents, more chairs, more tables for the public and those running the events,” he said.
Hanson also wanted to point out that long-term forecasts have the weather pegged in the low to mid 80s with no rain.
For more information and a complete schedule of the events, go online to here; look inside next week’s paper, which will have a full page listing; or check your mail as the schedules will be mailed out across town.