What happens when you combine passionate people who will volunteer their time, their skills, and their knowledge toward one result? What happens when you provide an opportunity for local entrepreneurs and business people to meet directly with old, current, and new customers? And what happens when talented performers who don’t get much chance to show people who they are and what they can do are allowed to have a stage and a microphone?
Well, the first thing that happens is a Maine Street Bash like none other seen before. The street party on Saturday was all that, and so much more, according to a number of people who attended.
It was a new idea and a new look to the 11-year-old street festival sponsored by the Crow-Luther Cultural Events Center this year. The most noticeable difference was there were no gate boundaries so people could come and go and enjoy walking the streets with no worries. Secondly, since there were no gates there was, therefore, no charge to get into the Bash, as there had been in the past. Finally, and perhaps the most obvious and best part of the changes, was the addition of a marketplace that contained businesses that were interesting and trendy.
The marketplace was a shopper’s paradise and it seemed like Christmas in July was upon us as some 30 pop-up businesses took advantage of the cheap retail space to sell their products. The street was full of artists, information, fun, beauty experts, and businesses that were working for a cause. One such business was One Hope Via Wines brought to the marketplace by Tricia Lening whose wine-based products generates half the proceeds for charity. In Lening’s case, she chose the donated sales portion to go to Prairie Pines Assisted Living.
The area is also blessed, we came to learn, with folks who can make a darn good meal on the street. There was an array of foods available in the food court located just north of the Kiowa County Independent building including Frito Pie and other street-type foods, Mexican burritos and green chili, burgers and hot dogs, barbeque, Thai food, and funnel cakes and snow cones. The Maine Scoop Ice Cream Shoppe was also hopping all day long.
And who can really believe the local talent that was highlighted by three stages including the Karaoke stage in the Plains Theater auditorium, the Indy Stage in the Horseshoe Park, and Main Stage, on, well, Maine Street. Local DJ extraordinaire Darwin Nelson set up an amazing array of technology equipment in order to bring a laser light and sound show like no other. Many Bash-goers ended up in the theater to sing with Nelson’s karaoke system. On the Indy stage there were also a number of entertainers that saw time in the park and on Main Stage. The crowd was entertained in a huge way by Brittany Gonzales, Jamie Crockett, Echo Crockett, Jared Weeks, Rhiley Unruh, Elise Crockett, Rhett Uhland, and the band from Lamar called JUDI.
There was some mean competition going on in the Horseshoe Park as a small gathering of horse show throwers enjoined the morning in the shade. By 6:00 pm, however, things were heating up as 12 teams competed to become the 1st Annual Corn Hole Champions. Through high drama, the team of Jim Ramsay and Krystal Koch, both from Lamar, stood undefeated through six games and won the “coveted” honor of Bash Corn Hole Champion.
Finally, the little ones were delighted with the water walking ball, a shooting trailer, face painting, water games, virtual reality games, and even fireworks at the end of the night.
The Bash continues to be one of two main fundraisers for CLCEC as it allows them to keep the Plains Movie Theater up and running. There are so many volunteers the CLCEC board wants to thank but hesitates to name them with the chance of missing someone who really made an impact on the success of the day. Board members are Betsy Barnett, Chairman; Kim Richards, Financial Officer; Laurie Musgrave, Secretary; Mary Vasquez, Maine Scoop; Charlene Gifford, Connie Shotton, Terry Riley, Alicia James, and Marty Miller.
Of course, these events do not happen without the help of the local businesses who continue to dig deep in their bag of generosity to help sponsor the event. This year the sponsorships made it possible to make the Bash free for the hundreds of people who came down to Maine Street on Saturday. Those sponsors include Eads Auto Supply, Kiowa Healthmart, Kiowa County National Bank, Saffer Spray Service, Hometown Gas & Grill, Kiowa County Independent, Crow’s Stop & Shop Grocery, KLMR Radio Station, Kiowa County Economic Development Foundation, A-1 Rental, Tri-County Ford, Danny & Jan Richards, Performance Automotive, Golden Plains Crop Insurance, Tractor Supply, Robinson Printing, Big R, Winter Livestock, Ace Tire Service, Becky’s Restaurant, Cactus Furniture, KVAY Radio Station, Kiowa County Sheriff’s Department, Kiowa County Fire Department, Town of Eads, Kiowa County, Eads Chamber of Commerce, and DJ RBG (Darwin Nelson).