Rescheduled play day is a hit in Haviland at the end of May
Haviland Grade School Celebrated the 92nd Annual Play Day on Thursday, May 27 in Kiowa County. Originally scheduled for October, the event was postponed last fall due to COVID-19. This is the first time Play Day has been in May, as far as former USD 474 Superintendent Mark Clodfelter is aware of. The event, which started as a day for the community to get together, has continued to be a highlight for Haviland for over nine decades.
"We absolutely love being together with all ages in our community! Play Day is an event that our family looks forward to each year, a time to pause and come together, full of laughter and joy," said Ashley Hatton, parent. "And some sore muscles for us parents and grandparents the next day!!"
Some events throughout the day include individual class races, a firefighter's race where local volunteer firefighters bring gear for the students to put on during a relay, sack races, three-legged races, and centipede races. This all happens on the lawn next to Haviland State Bank.
The sore muscles for parents and grandparents Hatton is referring to happen during a plethora of races including mother/daughter, father/son, mother/son, and father/daughter. There are even grandparent/grandchild races. These races aren't just for fun, though. In the spirit of competition, parents will pull their children to ensure the best possible finish. In return, and the kids age and come back for play day, they drag their parents. Oftentimes, if a parent or grandparent isn't present, a community member will fill in for students so they can run their race.
When Haviland still had a high school, the planning committee tried to always schedule Play Day on the day of a home football game. There would be a parade, floats, followed by the races and the football game. Since Haviland has been a part of Kiowa County High School, the day has been paired down some, but the parade still happens during normal years. This year, due to the postponement, there was no parade.
Lloyd Ballard, a lifelong Haviland resident, is a testament to what the event means to Havilanders. Ballard will turn 94 later this month and has attended all 92 Play Days.
In addition to the races, there was also a cookie decorating contest, baked goods and drinks from Lela's Bakery and Coffeehouse, and a complimentary lunch at the park sponsored by Banco Insurance, Haviland State Bank, and Barclay College, and cold water, compliments of Southern Pioneer Electric Company.