A visit from the Kool-Aid Man is a family tradition in Hastings, Nebraska. Mid-August is the ideal time for filling up on a cold and refreshing drink. This small town with a big heart invites lovers of this sweet beverage, young and old, to Kool-Aid Days. A sugar-free version of the drink is available too, so come and take your fill.
Take part in the Kwickest Kool-Aid drinking contest after playing on the kid and adult sized giant inflatables, play indoor games, and then watch the grand street parade where marching bands and participants from all over Nebraska celebrate the fun of summer.
Food vendors dish out family-friendly meals and dessert delights. You can also purchase Kool-Aid merchandise to take home. Grandstand entertainment includes top musical acts from the state, and chances are, a little magic will be thrown into what is experienced.
While in the area, have a blast at the water park, play a round of golf, or go for a walk in Brickyard Park. Alexander Park offers a pretty picnic destination, or you can spend an afternoon birdwatching.
Camp at an RV park in the area to make the most of the time you are here. Go for a hike or head back to town to take another visit to the Hastings Museum, home of the history of Kool-Aid.
Most of the events are free of charge, although there is a small fee to enter the Hastings Museum or to enter the Flying Disc Golf Tournament. Koncert Kool-Aid incurs a small fee as well; to be informed for the weekend visit www.kool-aiddays.com. Admission prices to events are minimal, ranging from $2 to $35.
You will be headed toward small-town paradise, so be sure to drive the speed limit and watch for children and pets, as well as species of wildlife that enjoy a quiet, rural life. A town built along the old Oregon Trail, it is famous for being the birthplace of Kool-Aid. US Highway 34 is the route that travels into Hastings. The town is just 15 minutes from I-80. Most of the events take place at the Hastings City Auditorium and the Hastings Museum, where the history of Kool-Aid is explained.
Consult the friendly townspeople when nearing the venue. There are several options in and about town, and the museum and auditorium have parking lots. However, parking away from the main area of the activities may be easiest. There is a free shuttle that runs between the museum and the downtown festivities.
Hastings does not have a public transportation system, but there are taxi and ridesharing options. Depending on where you camp, you may want to park where it is easy to navigate your rig and then arrange for a cab to take you closer to the fun. Then, take advantage of the free shuttle for moving about the festival.
There are no accommodations on site for tents or RVs, but there are plenty of places to stay in the area, including an RV park with full hookups, pull-through sites. Outside of Hastings is a viable option as well. Explore the region and learn about this beautiful state when you camp nearby.
Fishing in the Platte River Valley is a popular pastime, drawing many outdoor enthusiasts to the region. Camp in nearby Kearney, Grand Island and more, and enjoy campgrounds that offer fishing, swimming, kayaking. Claim a spot under the trees with large sites that allow the kiddos to run and play for hours on end. WiFi, a pool, dog run, and laundry area are just a few of the amenities to make your home away from home perfect.
The festivities are unique in that they are spread out over a few key areas in town. The Kool-Aid Days Trolley will ferry you from one fun event to another, and in between, you can move out easily on foot. Wear your comfiest shoes. The little ones can be in a stroller if need be.
A family-oriented event like this calls for easy-wash clothing. Ice cream, 20 flavors of the cold and delicious drink, funnel cakes and more make for a day of sweetness and stickiness. No doubt, the little ones will need a change of shirt or two over the course of the day. Pack clothing meant for fun including t-shirts, shorts, and sun protective hats, all made from washable fabric.
Pack a carry-along bag with refillable water bottles, sunscreen, a camera, and a package of baby wipes. This gear should fit the bill for Kool-Aid Days. Back at camp, essentials like flashlights, a small radio, cooking utensils, and toiletries need to be on the list. Throw in a game or two for a rainy day, and you are all set.
Despite the abundance of Kool-Aid to drink at the festival, hydration with water is key for safety when spending the day in the sun. Apply and reapply sunscreen to keep burnt noses and shoulders at bay. If bugs are in the picture, be certain to use your choice of bug spray as needed.
Healthy food should be on the menu after a day of fun at Kool-Aid Days. Create a yummy salad full of peppers, carrots, radishes, cucumbers, and tomatoes, topped by your best vinaigrette. Dessert can be baked apples or pears. The next morning, start the day with scrambled eggs and whole wheat toast topped with peanut butter. Stock the cabinets and refrigerator with simple, healthy fare for a delicious, feel-good meal at every sitting.
Those in the mood for a steak, gourmet sandwiches, pizza, wings, and gyros can get their fill in Hastings. Asian, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, and Chinese food are a few of the international flavors available. If you are in a hurry to get back to camp, there are many fast food restaurants, as well.
Vendors are a big part of the attractions at Kool-Aid Days. Kool-Aid Days Kollectibles showcases all things to do with the sweet drink. From mugs to bags, you will find your favorite souvenir here. Kraft Korridor has unique goods for the buyer who likes to support local talent. And of course, the food vendors are plentiful and ready to feed hungry festival-goers.
A wholesome and ideal for all ages event, the aim of the game is to ensure a family-oriented festival that is fun for attendees. From mixing Kool-Aid to crowd safety and control at the parade, this is a strictly volunteer-run festival. Keep the kiddos close in crowded areas and designate a meet-up spot should anyone get separated.
Hot and sunny days are the typical norm for this festival, so seek the shade often to stay cooled down. You may need a generator at night if you plan to run air conditioning. Ask about the rules for running the machine before checking in to the campsite. Stock the refrigerator with cold drinks and pack everyone light sleepwear for hot nights.
Medications required for all family members must top the RV supply list. Have a first aid kit on hand, too with topical ointment for bug bites and burns. At Kool-Aid Days, keep the family safe and hydrated all day by drinking plenty of Kool-Aid, but even more water. A medical center rests within a ten-minute drive in case there is a need.