Update: Friday's pet show set for 6-7 p.m. has been canceled due to the heat.
ELLINWOOD — Ellinwood’s 46th Annual After Harvest Festival is happening this weekend. It’s a time for friends and family to gather mid-summer following the recent wheat harvest and prior to back to school and subsequent harvests picking back up. It’s also a chance for the community to celebrate what makes it unique. This year’s theme is “Small Town Strong,” and organizers have brought together a great packed schedule for each of the three days the event spans, starting Thursday morning and going strong into Saturday night.
What’s a festival without food? Thursday night, the After Harvest Festival spread starts with the traditional community barbecue sponsored by EPPI and Barton County Feeders from 5-7 p.m. at the City Park, paired with a homemade ice cream and pie social at the same time and place, sponsored by the Ellinwood Optimists and the United Methodist Church.
Friday morning, from 6-9 a.m. at the City Park, stop in for the community pancake feed sponsored by the Ellinwood Chamber of Commerce, EPPI and CalMaine Foods. This one is a fundraiser, with proceeds from freewill offerings going to the Ellinwood Christmas light replacement fund.
The food truck food court at the southwest corner of City Park in the pool parking lot opens for Friday and Saturday nights, with a variety of food trucks offering a wide selection of food to fit the festival mood.
Saturday, Sue’s BBQ will be serving it up at the American Legion Post 320 starting at 11 a.m. Wolfstone Ice Cream will be available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Historic Wolf Hotel and Events Center, and the food truck food court opens again from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. A watermelon eating contest, courtesy of the Ellinwood American Legion, will be held at 2 p.m., and from 5-8 p.m., Annie Mae’s Restaurant carries on a long-standing tradition offering the “Go NUTS” all-you-can-eat buffet.
For those whom “beer is food” rings true, the Kansas Sidewinders Motorcycle Club is hosting a beer garden outdoors at City Park from 5 p.m. to midnight Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and an indoor beer garden on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sidewinders’ clubhouse at 21 North Main street.
Parents, grandparents and kids will find many engaging activities throughout the weekend. Thursday morning, The City of Ellinwood pool has kids activities planned from 9-10 a.m. A Family Variety Show will entertain during the community barbecue from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The Ellinwood Scouts are holding a Pinewood Derby with multiple divisions, and car kits can be purchased through the Scouts by calling 620-617-6700. A Junior Cornhole benefit tournament will be at the football field on Thursday from 5-8 p.m. Contact the Ellinwood Chamber for more details.
The carnival opens Thursday night from 7-11 p.m., and a kids movie night is offered at the football field, courtesy of the Ellinwood Grade School.
On Friday, bring your pets to the Wolf Park band shell at 5:30 p.m. to register for the 6 p.m. pet show.
Saturday morning, those that rise with the sun are welcome to gather at City Park from 6:30-7:30 a.m. for a Family Fun Walk and Run 5K. At 8 a.m., a Kids Fishing Derby will be held, and 9:30 a.m., the Kids Parade gets everyone warmed up for the After Harvest Parade at 10 a.m. This year’s theme, “Small Town Strong,” should provide the inspiration for exciting and unique floats.
The parade is sponsored by the Ellinwood Rotary Club, and this year their pick for parade marshal is Ruth Peters, a lifelong Ellinwood resident who, at 99 years old, continues to travel the world. She recalls traveling to grade school in a horse-drawn wagon, she traveled by train to visit her fiancee during the college years, and today she travels the world by private jet – but Ellinwood is still where she feels at home. That’s small town strong!
After the parade, the horseshoe tournament returns to Wolf Pond from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and, at the same time, at City Park the Family Fun Fair will feature several fun activities: touch-a-truck, turtle races, a kids tractor pull, games and a petting zoo. At 2:30 p.m., the Ellinwood Fire Department-sponsored Duck Run will happen at the city pool.
Fun for Grown-ups
After Harvest Festival is a fun time for the over-21 crowd too. In addition to the Kansas Sidewinders Beer Garden each night, there are concerts, comedy, cornhole and more.
Thursday night, the beer garden is open from 5 p.m. to midnight at City Park, where Tony Bowell will be in concert from 8 p.m. to midnight. Rice County Line will also be in concert at the American Legion Post 320. No cover is required for either show.
On Friday night, the Kansas Sidewinders Beer Garden opens from 5 p.m. to midnight and will feature a mechanical bull ride competition, so be ready to embrace your inner urban cowboy and experience the Lazy Wayne Band in concert, all from 7 p.m. to midnight. Or, if laughter is more your style, the Wolf Hotel will feature a stand-up comedy show (adults only) from 7-10 p.m., with social hour from 7-8 p.m.
On Saturday, the outside beer garden opens from 11 a.m. and stays open until midnight. The indoor beer garden at the Kansas Sidewinders Clubhouse opens from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
A cornhole tournament for players over 21 starts at City Park at 11:30 a.m., and will continue until 5 p.m. See the Ellinwood Chamber of Commerce website for more details.
A two-person scramble starts at 1 p.m. at Grove park Golf Club, and more adult stand-up comedy will be featured at the Wolf Hotel from 7-10 p.m.
The big topper for Ellinwood After Harvest Festival this year is a concert featuring Logan Mize, with special guest Jill Martin, at 8 p.m. (Advance purchase tickets through Wednesday for $10, or $15 at the gate. See Ellinwood Chamber of Commerce for details.)
In an effort to make this year the safest After Harvest Festival ever, a free taxi will be provided from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. (up to 20 mile) with donations going to the Ellinwood D.A.R.E. program. Z’s Liquor Stores in Great Bend and Zip-Stop in Ellinwood are sponsors. The free taxi can be reached by calling 620-566-1234.