WHAT: The annual Hamler Summer Fest.
WHEN: Events run from tonight through Sunday.
WHERE: The Hamler Summer Fest Community Park grounds.
ADMISSION: A three-day pass (Friday through Sunday) is available for $15. Admission Friday and Saturday is $7 per day, and admission for Sunday is $5. Those 16 years old and younger are admitted free with a paid adult. Adults who bring a child on Sunday only are also admitted for free.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS: Thursday — An interdenominational church service will be held on site at 7 p.m.
Friday — The gates will open at 4:30 p.m. and the food line opens at 5 p.m. Featured entertainers for the day include Aaron Dussing & Polka Revolution from 5:30-7 and 8:30-10 p.m. and Jack Tady and The Tady Bears from 7-8:30 and 10-11:30 p.m. Registration for the 1K Kids Run and 5K Run will start at 6 p.m. The 1K Kids Run will begin at 6:30 p.m., with the 5K Run to follow at 7 p.m.
Saturday — Gates open at 2 p.m., with the food line opening at 3 p.m. Featured performers include Aaron Dussing & Polka Revolution from 2:30-4 and 5:30-7 p.m., Squeezebox featuring Ted Lange and Mollie B from 4-5:30 and 8:30-10 p.m. and Jack Tady and The Tady Bears from 7-8:30 and 10-11:30 p.m. Registrations for a cornhole tournament will start at 4 p.m., with play beginning at 5 p.m. A pong tournament will follow, with registrations starting at 4 p.m., and the event beginning at 8 p.m.
Sunday — Gates open at 10 a.m. and the food line opens at 11:30 a.m. There is free admission before 10:30 a.m. for a church service with Mollie B, with the Sunday charge for admission after 10:30 a.m. Featured performers will be Squeezebox featuring Ted Lange and Mollie B from 1-2:30 and 4-5:30 p.m. and Fred Ziwich from 2:30-4 and 5:30-7 p.m.
German food will be sold throughout the duration of the event, including barbecue chicken, bratwurst, hot beef, hot dogs, beef and noodles, baked beans, German potato salad, sauerkraut and ice cream. Free camping is also available during the event.
The Hamler Summer Fest is returning for its 53rd annual event. While COVID-19 didn’t allow for the typical festivities last year, event president Elissa Carrizales said the community spirit of the event was still able to take place with food service.
“We’ve found that people really appreciate the food, so we did a drive-thru food event,” she said. “The turnout was phenomenal. It was a reassurance that people want to support the community. They love the food.”
Carrizales said the turnout had traffic lined out to the roadway, and polka music was played through speakers to keep true to the theme.
“We made the best out of our situation,” she said.
Carrizales said a large number of volunteers make the event possible and the volunteers haven’t lost a step going into this year’s event.
“If there is anything to say about the event, it’s the overwhelming support we have from the community,” she said.
On top of the festival committee, volunteer efforts come from the local fire department and the Hamler Men’s Club, as well as teams from the Patrick Henry Local Schools such as the football, basketball, cheerleading and cross country teams.
“This would not be possible without the community. We really appreciate our volunteers,” Carrizales said.
Carrizales even noted there are people who have since moved out of Hamler, yet they return to help with the annual event.
The event also comes at a time that follows the renovation of the rental building, which houses a kitchen and restroom area that is used during Summer Fest. Carrizales said there are still some “finishing touches” to apply to the project, but those aren’t anything that will be noticeable.
“We try to set goals for improvement projects,” she said. “I’ve been on the committee for about 8-9 years and this year was the biggest project we’ve done.”
Carrizales said the kitchen and banquet hall area received new paint, new flooring and new countertops in the bathrooms. She said, with the exception of the floor pouring, all of this work was also done courtesy of local volunteers.
Carrizales said nothing new is being introduced to the event, but the 2021 Summer Fest retains the traditions of food and music, and is keeping recent additions such as the Sunday church service, the Sunday kids’ day and the cornhole and pong tournaments.
“We hope everyone will enjoy the music and food and connect with the people they haven’t seen over the past couple of years,” Carrizales said. “We want the event to rekindle relationships and provide fellowship, so people can enjoy each other’s company with food and music.”