The annual Schuyler Knights of Columbus Spring Festival is returning this year with a few notable changes.
Rather than taking place during its traditional second weekend in June, this year’s Spring Festival is set for Sunday, May 26, during Memorial Day weekend. In addition, for the first time in more than a decade, the annual car show is not happening in downtown Schuyler as part of the event.
“This is the first year since I’ve been part of it where the car show isn’t being held,” said Ron Kluck, who has been part of the Catholic men’s service organization for more than 15 years. “The guys that got it started have done it for all those years and they were finally ready to turn it over to some others. But, nobody has really stepped forward and picked up the reins and run with it.”
Although losing a staple of the festival that many area residents have come to know and love is tough, there is still a wide variety of activities – including a handful of new ones – that should appeal to the expected hundreds in attendance.
Proceeds from this year’s festival will go toward a variety of charitable ventures.
“This is a money maker for us that allows us to donate to different things in the community, lots of church things and different activities for youth that go on in Schuyler,” said Thomas Bayer, grand knight of the local Knights of Columbus chapter. “We need to have money so we are able to keep donating to these things."
Kluck added that the Spring Festival is one of the club’s biggest fundraisers of the year, noting funds annually go toward providing a $1,000 college scholarship to a graduating Schuyler Central High School student, as well as to students pursuing the priesthood.
This year’s lineup starts at 9 a.m. in downtown Schuyler with a swap meet taking place near the corner of 11th and C Street. Registration for the Right to Life Fun Run/Walk is being held at 10 a.m. in the KC Hall, 1013 C St. For those who work up an appetite, there will be both Latino and American cuisine available from 11:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. in the Hall.
Starting at noon, people are encouraged to bring their cars, trucks, tractors and motorcycles to a Show & Shine being held on 11th Street between B and C streets in the downtown area. Other events/activities include: A boys and girls Kid’s State Sanctioned Tractor pull being at 1 p.m. outside the KC Hall; a 1 p.m. two-person Corn Hole tournament; music provided by Joe Cockson from 2-4 p.m. in the KC Hall; a 4 p.m. performance from the Studio A Dancers on a stage outside the KC Hall; and a 5-9 p.m. performance from the musical group Buffalo Norteno.
Those interested are also encouraged to participate in the KC Raffle. Drawings will be held at 6 p.m., with the top prize coming in the form of a four-wheeler or $5,000 in cash. Numerous other prizes will be distributed and those buying raffle tickets don’t need to be present to win.
Bayer said that people can expect a solid event that was well thought out.
“Naturally, we have a planning committee that gets together to talk about what will work well and just the different activities that we will have,” he said. “That starts about four months in advance, and then we have meetings every so often. Just to make sure that everything is getting lined up.”
In addition to all the other shifts being seen this year, another major twist is that the festival is being held at the same time as the River City Carnival, which will be in town May 24-27. Kluck said that he and his fellow knights don’t view the carnival as a conflict, but rather a benefit.
“We were thinking that with all the people who will be in town for the carnival that it might also really help our numbers at our Spring Festival,” Kluck said. “And that’s great because this is one of our primary fundraisers for our council that allows us to do the things we do.”
Sam Pimper is the news editor of the Schuyler Sun. Reach him via email at email@example.com.