GAYVILLE — The revival of a former summer tradition has brought the residents of Gayville together, which is exactly what its organizers had hoped would happen.
Hay Days 2010 will be held Saturday and Sunday, and there should be something for everyone.
"It's a family function," said Hay Days Committee President Jane Barta. "It's a day for kids to have fun, and to bring families together. The evening is more for adults."
Hay Days had been a part of Gayville since the late 1960s, but was discontinued in 1997 due to lack of help. But several years ago, some Gayville residents decided to bring the tradition back.
"It just grew out of a handful of people talking, saying we should go it again," said committee treasurer Angie Heier.
The group started small, Barta said.
"In 2008, we had a mini Hay Days, just to try it out and see what it was going to be like, and then last year we had an actual Hay Days event," she said. "It went very well. We had a very good response, and a lot of (people told us), 'Thank you for bringing it back.'"
Area sponsors have also shown their appreciation for the event's return by donating items for the festivities.
"We really appreciate that," said committee vice president Glenyce Culver.
For their part, the Hay Days Committee has been planning this year's event ever since the last one's conclusion.
"We start having meetings right after Hay Days is over," Barta said. "We schedule monthly meetings and plan for the following year. Lately now it's been once or twice a week as it gets closer."
Even with careful planning, there can be snags.
"We were really overwhelmed with the parade last year, the number of entries that were there. It was a very good turn-out for that," Barta said.
Heier said another problem was encountered when the hay bales that were supplied for the "roll race" broke apart.
"We had them wrapped in twine last year," she said. "But this year they're wrapped in (hay bale wrap)."
With each passing year, the celebration grows incrementally, with new activities being added. This year, a Hay Days prince and princess will be crowned. The honor will be bestowed on two area 5-10-year-olds who sell the most Hay Days buttons.
Barta said she expects this will go over pretty well with festival-goers.
"A lot of parents have been saying that they really liked what we had for the kids' activities during the day," she said.
With everything that's going on Saturday and Sunday, the committee is always in need of help.
"We're a little short," Culver said. "If anybody is interested in helping out, we won't turn them away."
Interested parties can contact any of the committee members during the festival, or before.
The committee members said they are pleased with what the return of Hay Days has brought to the community.
"It adds a little excitement," said committee member Nick Huber. "It gives everybody something to look forward to, and a chance to hang out with their friends."
"It just brings everybody together," Heier added.
Schedule of events:
Saturday, July 17
• 8:30 a.m. — Parade line-up
• 10 a.m. — Parade
• 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. — Food served in Gayville Community Center and Bingo Hall
• 11 a.m. — Hay auction after parade
• 11 a.m.-5 p.m. — Kids' inflatables
• 11 a.m. — Kids' Pedal Pull registration, Main Street
• 11:30 a.m. — Kids Pedal Pull starts
• Noon — Horseshoe Tournament registration at RJ Riders Bar & Grille, with tournament starting after registration
• Noon — Kids' Water Fight registration, Main Street
• 12:30 p.m. — Kids' Water Fight
• 1 p.m. — Contest to guess how long a car will run without oil
• 2 p.m. — Gayville Volunteer Fire Department bucket brigade
• 2 p.m. — Registration for Ladder Ball
• 2:30 p.m. — Ladder Ball
• 3 p.m. — Two-person team round hay bale roll races (For ages 11-18, and couples)
• 4-7 p.m. — Gullickson Brothers on Main Street
• 4-7 p.m. — Poker run at Wild Bill Cody's
• 8 p.m. — Gayville Hall concert with the Little Chicago Syncopators
• 8 p.m.-midnight — Street Dance featuring Autumn Band, to be held on Main Street, sponsored by RJ Riders
• All day — Free kids' train rides
• All day — Randy Fields Ice Cream Truck
• All day — RJ Riders Bar & Grille and Wild Bill Cody's serving food
Sunday, July 18
Tilled Dirt ATV Drag Races, at the E Circle E Hunting Lodge.
• 9-11 a.m. — Registration
• 9-11 a.m. — Test lanes
• Noon — Races begin