Celebrating Kool-Aid in Nebraska


In 1927, Edwin Perkins created the powdered flavored drink mix known as

Kool-Aid. It is now produced by Kraft Foods Company. The second weekend

of August, the town of Hastings, Nebraska celebrates its seventeenth year of

Aid Days.” The Festival has what is called “The World’s Largest Kool-Aid”

stand there. This is where you may pick up a free dated, reusable memorabilia

Souvenir Cup. This is refillable all day. You may also, purchase collectibles for

the 2014 event, online now.

There are all kinds of activities, fun things to do, a fair atmosphere with plenty

of food concession stands to celebrate Kool-Aid’s invention.

I liked using Kool-Aid for lunches, during the years I was a ‘stay at home/baby-

sitting’ Mom. I would always serve juice and milk for breakfast. Then, I would

serve milk again for my three kids, at dinner-time.

If there was anyone who brought something else to drink or share a beverage,

we would enjoy this variation. Occasionally, there were mothers who would

supply ‘juice boxes’ or jugs of lemonade, for our swimming pool outings, to save

money at the Mingo Pool Snack Bar. I would bring 8-10 snack baggies for all

the kids, including my 3.  There was always the drinking fountain, if thirsty.

I liked while growing up, visiting my neighbors or on overnight stays at  a

friend’s house, where Kool-Aid was served. To the best of my knowledge, we

never had any served at home. My parents were rather strict: water, milk or

juice, except on weekends. We would then have one bottle of Cotton Club

pop, with our pizza on Friday or our dinner on Saturday. Then, back to the

‘routine’ of drinking milk, juice or water on Sunday.

While traveling, my parents would bring instant coffee and Tang, the orange

juice concentrated powdered drink, along. My Dad liked to remind us that,

“Tang was what the astronauts drank up in Space!” We would have those little

boxes of cereal, that came in 8 or 10 packs, eating a box ‘dry’ with a cup of

Tang juice for breakfast. My parents would use the hot water from the tap

and make their instant coffee. We were used to this, our only special kind

of breakfast would be one time the whole week of vacation, we would head

to IHOP. We loved the International House of Pancakes! My co-workers

and I mentioned that there were so many of them, down South, less up

here in the North. I always chose this erudite dish of lemon butter crepes.

My brother, Randy, would have a stack of pancakes with boysenberry sauce,

while my brother, Ricky, would have eggs, bacon and toast with lots of butter

on it. My Dad was a fan of having every kind of food available for breakfast,

steak, eggs, pancakes or French toast, with grits and gravy on the side. My

Mom liked the crepes suzette with boysenberry or blueberry on it, with bacon.

I have wandered off Kool-Aid, but am meandering back. While on road trips,

my kids today bring those different instant single use packets that you add to

bottled water. They don’t make Kool-Aid nor do they usually serve sugared

juices, unless they are 100% juice, which is naturally sweetened. They serve

milk at 2-3 of the meals my grandchildren eat, although one of my little ones

has a lactose allergy and she gets almond milk, unsweetened with her meals.


As I am typing this, I think about those Kool-Aid packs in multiple colors

and flavors, “Just add one cup of sugar…” and it is ‘just pennies per serving.’

The song that they should play at the opening of the Kool-Aid Days Festival

should be, “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies, from 1969!


Now, I cannot go any farther without asking, how many of you read,

“The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,” book? This was written in 1968 by

Tom Wolfe.

How many of you used Kool-Aid to dye your hair?

What are your Kool-Aid memories?


19 responses »

  1. i loved koolaid, loved tang,and my parents used instant coffee. how funny, and i had no idea koolaid had been around so long. one of my daughters tried the hair coloring experience and i recently gave the aussie baby joeys, the little boxes cereal for breakfast. they were so excited ! i would, love, love to go to the koolaid festival and no, i never read the book but i remember a lot of my friends reading it and it was so cool to read it. )

    • I am smiling, Beth! You just talk like I do, sometimes! So glad there were a lot of similarities and memories we have in common (again!) Also, I bought some of those Kellogg and Post little boxes, dumped them into bowls, by opening them at the bottom, then re-glued them for the M&M girls to play ‘grocery store’ with them! We have a few things, like Jello boxes, empty dried creamer containers, they are so cute, they will bring these up to me, to smell the vanilla or hazelnut scent, I did not wash them out… “Smell, Nana! Do you want this one or that one in your coffee?” Oh, and I kept my Cracker Barrel black pad, my daughter brought us her black waist tied pocket thing. I had to turn in my brown and red CB aprons. Did you know the red ones are ‘more than 4 *’s aprons?’ I don’t know what they would do with Robin printed on them, either!? Here’s my return run on sentences back to you! ha ha I hope you have a great weekend, Beth!

    • The flavor of grape was one of my kids’ favorites along with strawberry. They went with me to a Dairy Queen only a few times, (since we have three local ice cream places) and all 3 ordered grape Mister Misty’s. I decided to try exactly what you mentioned, Jill! I froze Kool-Aid! I liked the strawberry and orange, sometimes would mix both packs into a big pitcher… yes, good memories, Jill!

    • I did not know about the pre-mixed now, thought that might have fake sweetener, which is not so good for kiddo’s. I think maybe I should check this out, it is still summer time! Smiles, Robin

    • Thanks, Jonathan! I love the idea of summer being easy going and laid back, with a cold glass of Kool-Aid! I think now I would prefer the lemonade flavor! Smiles, Robin

    • Tang reminds me of a really orange-y flavor, along with the idea that the astronauts drank it, made it wonderful for kids! Glad you and Beth liked it, as children! I think this generation would like it, since they seem to like “Sour Patch Kids” candy and gum. That Tang was tangy!

    • So glad to helped bring back some memories, I am sure that the book was just interesting while I was younger. In those days, I was not acquainted with the negative sides of drugs, so I was amused by this book! One of my daughters used the Kool-Aid dying hair recipe, which she thought was quite ‘brilliant’ while away at art college, Colleen! Smiles, Robin

  2. I was not a big fan of Kool Aid, Robin. Too sweet I actually thought. Yet I loved those little straws of similar stuff, Pixie Stix. Remember those? And I would drink Hawaiian Punch out of can, and that was sweet, too. Maybe I just didn’t like the Kool Aid flavors … I remember the cool older kids reading the Tom Wolfe book and everybody being all hush hush because it was about LSD and drugs and I was a little too young for that kind of thing.

    • I loved Pixie Stix, too! I think they were only pennies for sale, right? I liked those little caps that came in rolls of waxed paper, for a couple of pennies, along with the necklaces that they still sell. Old times, I wonder, do they still make Pixie Stix, Mark?
      I am so glad you never got into those serious mind-altering drugs, like you said, too young for the book… I smile at the ‘hush, hush’ part of this, remembering that when I would go to band or theater parties, people would pass their joints across my head. They never wanted Robin to ‘do pot.’

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