Cannons, eye patches and parrots may be seen during Sand Creek Summer Daze, scheduled to take place Aug. 16 and 17 in Athletic Park.
"It's one of the larger events in Newton. It's a little last bit of fun before school kicks in," said Greg Hanson, chairman of the Sand Creek Summer Daze executive committee. "We want to see community to come out and have fun."
The festival's two anchor events — the Saucy & Glazed BBQ Competition and the Hard Redz Summer Brew-Off — have expanded this year and other new activities have been added to the schedule.
"We've had our first run last year and learned what works and what needed improvements ... we have new events and eliminated some that didn't quite work," Hanson said.
Sand Creek Summer Daze is hoping to attract more attendees with its bevy of contests that are free to enter and can earn them cash prizes.
The festival starts at 5:15 p.m. Aug. 16 with a Floating Flotilla Parade. Each float will be required to follow the theme "Pirates on Sand Creek." The Most Creative float will win $250 while the winners of Best Float in both the family/individual and business/organization categories will win $75.
The parade will be followed by a festival kickoff ceremony at 6 p.m. The Wild Seedz of Sand Creek concert featuring music from Candice and The Business Casual, along with The Steinbergs, begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be accompanied by the Saucy & Glazed BBQ Competition public tasting.
The morning of Aug. 17 starts with the Sizzlin' 5K run at 8 a.m. The event costs $41 to enter before Aug. 15 and $45 the day of the race.
The Sand Creek volleyball tournament also starts at 8 a.m.; $150 is the fee for a six-person team to enter.
The Foos Your Daddy human foosball tournament is free to enter and begins at 9 a.m., with the three top and bottom teams earning medals.
The Coo Coo 4 Cornhole tournament is $10 per person, with the top two participants splitting the total cash purse.
A cardboard regatta build will start at 10 a.m. at the public pool. Contestants will have only 90 minutes to build their craft and must wear a life jacket for the launch at noon. The categories judged will including Fastest Boat (in both adult and a 16 and under division) along with Best Design, Most Spectacular Sinking and Best Team Concept.
Diggin' the Artz will feature Mark Pendergrass creating the annual Art Composition — a 4-foot by 8-foot mural portrait representing Sand Creek and the festival.
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Time Out for the Kidz lets younger attendees visit booths and tents to learn such life skills as safety measures and first aid, play carnival games and meet animals. Harvey County United Way will also have a dunk tank set up with teachers, coaches and other public figures in the hot seat. Newton YMCA will provide a bounce house. The ScallyWags Pirate Comedy Team and their life size pirate ship will also be present.
Eazy Ridin' Sand Creek gives cyclists a course open from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Children can learn bike safety skills and collect swag at each stop, receiving a bicycle safety certificate at the end.
Food trucks will be set up just outside the festival beginning at 11 a.m. — Wings & Tails BBQ, The Salted Creamery, La Fogata and Taco Mike’s are scheduled to be present.
The Monumental Muztachio contest will be judged at 11 a.m. (participants register and pay a $5 fee at 10:30 a.m.) in the categories of full beard, mustache, partial beard, freestyle and whiskerina.
The first 100 people paying $10 will be allowed in the gates to the Hard Redz Summer Brew-Off, which starts at noon. They can sample and judge locally brewed beers while listening to music by the Midian Shriner Polka Band.
"It celebrates Kansas' wheat history through home brewing," Hanson said.
If you register at Gurty's Burgers & Shakes (214 E. 12th St.) before Aug. 10, you could be chosen to participate in The Great Brain Freezer contest at 1 p.m. The winner will earn $200 by eating the most ice cream in two minutes.
Cock-A-Doodle Poo will also start at 1 p.m. The 50/50 raffle tickets are $20 with proceeds going to 4-H members who raise poultry. There will be three rounds, with the first two rounds giving out $250 and the last shelling out a $500 grand prize.
Those who register their canines at Caring Hands Humane Society before Aug. 14 will have their pets judged in the My Ugly Dogz contest at 2 p.m. Entry is free and KSN news anchor Carly Willis is the celebrity judge.
A Magical Mystery Show featuring illusionist and circus performer Korso will start at 3 p.m.
The Hot Summerz' Night concert will begin at 5 p.m. with music from Haymakers, Sleepy Truckers and Epic Rocks planned to fill out the evening.
While the festival had to eliminate two events and move two others because of the draining of Sand Creek, Hanson said the area still lends itself well as a location for people to gather.
"The festival was built around Sand Creek as an asset to the community, to show the beauty of it," Hanson said.
A donation from Millennium Machine & Tool will provide transportation for festival goers from the Harvey County Department on Aging from Grand Central, 122 E. Sixth St., to the festival’s front gate.
Sand Creek Summer Daze buttons can be purchased in advance for $4 at B&B Lumber, 1601 W. First St., Midland National Bank's locations at 527 N. Main St. or 1212 Washington Road, all First Bank locations and at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, 616 N. Main St. Buttons will be $5 at the gate. Groups purchasing 50 or more buttons can do so for $3 each. Ages 5 and under are free.
For more information about Sand Creek Summer Daze, visit https://sandcreeksummerdaze.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.