By Adam Strunk
If all goes to plan, crews of pirates will chow down on free barbecue and listen to area bands Aug. 16.
The eclectic happening will kick off the second-annual Sand Creek Summer Daze, Newton’s two-day summer festival that lasts from Aug. 16 and 17.
This year’s floating floatilla parade, with a fitting theme of “Curse of Sand Creek,” has become land bound after Sand Creeks dam failed and caused the creek to drain.
Organizer Greg Hanson said despite the change, he’s hoping big crowds will show up to the festival’s inaugural event.
“We don’t know how big it’s going to be since it’s the change, but we’re hoping more people participate,” he said. “We’re hoping to build this up.”
The parade features a $250 grand prize for the float that best sums up its pirate-centric theme.
Rewards for $50 also will be doled out for top performers in categories, such as individual/family and business/organization categories.
“They should participate to show pride in the community,” he said. “It will be fun for them to dress up and be crazy as a pirate.”
A pirate ship will lead the parade, with mascot Sand Creek Charlie, i.e. County Prosecutor David Yoder, in the prow.
Hanson said he’s looking for as many entrants as possible for the parade, which will begin at 5:15 p.m. and begin on the southwest side of the park, go around the circle and end by the 4-H building.
Following will be a quick opening ceremony and then a public tasting of the festival’s barbecue competition that will take place the next day.
The first 350 people who enter and have a festival button will be able to enjoy the tasting for free and receive a goody bag as well, Hanson said.
The tasting starts at 6:30 p.m. There also will be music from bands Candice & Business Casual and The Steinbergs, food trucks including Freddy’s Frozen Custard, and a surprise act.
Hanson would not elaborate on what the surprise was, just that it would be awesome.
“It involves fire.”
Those interested in attending can start showing up around 4:30 p.m. Park roads close by 5 p.m. for the parade.
Those interested in learning more about the parade can visit sandcreeksummerdaze.com. Those wanting to sign up to participate can do so for free on the website as well.