For more information, please contact:
Alisha Renberger -- (785) 625-6483 (daytime)
Katie Rech -- (785) 628-5339 (daytime)
Nicole Hammerschmidt -- (785) 625-8083 (evenings)
Karrie Clawson -- (785) 628-5403 (evenings)
HAYS, KS -- "There's nothing to do in Hays."
If you've ever found yourself saying that, it certainly won't be true on the weekend of April 26 and 27. A group of Fort Hays State University students, called A.C.E., has developed the first-ever Downtown Hays Spring Block Party, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, April 26 and 27. Activities will include the Hays Fun Run/Walk, the Kids Carnival, the Pet Parade and an outdoor movie, to name just a few.
Planning for the project began last fall when A.C.E. first came together for a class in Leadership Studies. A.C.E. is an acronym for Activity Coordinating Engineers. The group includes Katie Rech, Wichita junior; Nicole Hammerschmidt, Plainville junior; Alisha Renberger, Derby sophomore; and Karrie Clawson, Larned senior. Last semester, the group entered into the research and planning stage for devising a strategic plan for community change. The team created a yearlong calendar of events and put together a strategic plan for implementing those events. The focus of the events was to generate more community spirit.
This spring semester, the group focused on turning an idea into a reality. The Spring Block Party got off the ground at a brainstorming session at the Hays Area Chamber of Commerce. With the help of Sabrina William, Kent Laas, Bob Swift and Jim Braun, A.C.E. devised a tentative schedule of events for the festival. Months later, after countless meetings and phone calls, the Spring Block Party is now only about a week away.
"The entire community has pulled together to make this event possible," said Karrie Clawson. Take Advantage of Hays is sponsoring the showing of the movie American Outlaws, which will be projected onto a screen at 9:30 p.m. Friday on 10th Street between Fort and Main. The new Center for Health Improvement, along with Goodwin Sporting Goods, Hays Trophies and Engraving, and McDonalds, is sponsoring the Hays Fun Run/Walk on Saturday. On-site registration will be $12 and the first 15 participants will receive a free T-shirt. The Hays Public Library will break ground for the construction phase of the library renovation project Saturday morning as well. Other events include the Little Tike Trike Ride, Face Painting, Sidewalk Chalking, and the Pet Parade. Wal-Mart, Northwestern Office Suppliers, McMindes Hall, Agnew Hall and Wiest Hall all contributed to these special activities.
In collaboration with the A.C.E. team's activities, another leadership project team called S.O.C.I.A.L. is organizing the Kids Carnival for Saturday morning. S.O.C.I.A.L., which stands for Students Organizing Community Involvement And Leadership, comprises the following Leadership Studies students: Mindy Knopp, Russell junior; Chad Butler, Olathe junior; Amber Cunningham, Minneola junior; Kristi Reif, Great Bend junior; and Garrett Brening, Hays sophomore. These students have teamed up with the Thomas More Prep-Marian Ambassadors to create a carnival to involve the children of Ellis County. "Through this Kids Carnival, A.C.E., S.O.C.I.A.L and TMP hope to increase and encourage community collaboration and involvement among all ages," said Kristi Reif.
This carnival will bring young children together with high school students, college students and other generations.
In exchange for non-perishable food items, children will receive tickets for the carnival rides. A child will receive two tickets per non-perishable food item, or one ticket for 50 cents. All donations and proceeds will go to the Community Assistance Center Food Pantry and to the St. Joseph's Food Pantry. The carnival will take place on 10th Street between Fort and Main on Saturday morning.
"The students have worked so hard on this event," said Christie Brungardt, instructor of leadership studies at FHSU.
"It's going to be a great event and we are looking forward to seeing our written plans turn into reality," said group member Mindy Knopp.
Spring Block Party Schedule
Friday, April 26
6 p.m. Food vendors open
6-8 p.m. Bands on main stage on 10th Street
7-9 p.m. The Spring Gallery Walk, sponsored by the Hays Arts Council, will be occurring in various buildings around Hays
8- 9 p.m. Vocal Method on main stage on 10th Street
9:30 p.m. American Outlaws between Main and Fort on 10th Street
Saturday, April 27
7:30 a.m. Registration for Hays Fun Run/Walk
8 a.m. Hays Fun Run/Walk
8:30 a.m. - Noon Kids Carnival (ages 12 and under)
8:30 a.m. - Noon Vendors
9-11 a.m. Little Tike Trike Ride, Face Painting, Sidewalk Chalking
10 a.m. Hays Public Library Groundbreaking
11 a.m. Pet Parade
In case of rain, all activities will move to the Armory on South Main.