National Kool Aid Day is celebrated on the second weekend in August in Hastings, Nebraska. It coincides with the first day of Kool-Aid Days, a festival held from Friday, August 19 to Sunday, August 21. This year, the day falls on August 16. The theme this year is Mangonificent. There are many fun activities on the go during the festival including a Kool-Aid drinking contest, a parade, a Fun Run, and boat races. So, if you live in or around Nebraska, you can participate in the events. But, if you don’t, there are things to do at home such as celebrate with your favorite packet of Kool-Aid.
History of Kool Aid Day
Kool-Aid is the official soft drink of Nebraska. Kool-Aid, an American brand of powdered drink mix, now owned by Kraft Heinz, was invented by Edwin Perkins in Hastings, Nebraska. Perkins was always fascinated by chemistry and liked to invent things. As a boy, he worked in his family’s general store after school and experimented with concoctions in his mother’s kitchen. He became interested in a new powdered dessert mix called Jell-O that came in Six Delicious Flavors. His childhood friend and future wife, Kitty Shoemaker, introduced the product to him. He then persuaded his father to carry the Jell-O line in the store.
Later, Perkins finished high school and set up a mail-order business to sell the products he had created. In 1920, he and his wife moved to Hastings, a better distribution point for his business. Perkins produced a bottled, concentrated drink mix, Fruit Smack, which also came in six delicious flavors like Jell-O’s. In 1927, he developed a method of removing the liquid from Fruit Smack — due to problems with bottle packaging — so the remaining powder could be packaged in envelopes. He designed and printed the packaging himself, with a new name Kool-Ade, which later became Kool-Aid.
Kool-Aid was first sold to wholesale grocery and candy stores for 10 cents per packet and came in six flavors: cherry, grape, lemon-lime, orange, raspberry, and strawberry. In 1929, Kool-Aid was distributed to grocery stores throughout the country. In 1931, due to high demand, Perkins concentrated on Kool-Aid, moving production to Chicago. During the Great Depression, the price of Kool-Aid halved to five cents a packet. In 1953, Kool-Aid was sold to General Foods by Perkins. Within a year, the well-known Smiling Face Pitcher trademark was introduced, and later the Kool-Aid Man burst onto the scene: “Oh yeah!”
Kool Aid Day timeline
Edwin Perkins develops a method of removing the Fruit Smack liquid that results in Kool-Aid powder.
Kool-Aid is distributed to grocery stores throughout the country.
Perkins moves Kool-Aid’s entire production to Chicago.
Perkins sells Kool-Aid to General Foods and the Kool-Aid Man is introduced.
Kool Aid Day FAQs
What is the rarest Kool-Aid flavor?
Hallowe’en Cool Eerie Orange, Rainbow Punch, Bedrock Orange, Birthday Bunch Lemonade, and Spider-Man Raspberry Reaction.
Can you drink Kool-Aid without sugar?
There are actually Kool-Aid On-The-Go Sugar-Free products coming in three flavors including tropical punch, cherry, and grape.
Who invented Kool-Aid pickles?
Mississippi is the birthplace of Kool-Aid pickles, and people nicknamed them “Koolickles.”
Kool Aid Day Activities
Make Kool-Aid drinks or food
You used to enjoy Kool-Aid when you were kids, right? On a hot summer day? Well, as adults, you can try various Kool-Aid recipes to celebrate the holiday. There are Super-Sour Cherry Kool-Aid, Kool-Aid Galaxy Slushies, Kool-Aid Frozen Creamy Dessert, or Kool-Aid Summer Strawberry Pie.
Join in the Kool-Aid Days festival
If you live in or around Hastings, join in the Kool-Aid Days festival. It is held over the whole weekend, and there are many fun activities including a Fun Run, car show, parade, and much, much more.
Become a volunteer
During the festival, you can become a volunteer. There are roles for mixing and serving Kool-Aid at the Kool-Aid stand or directing participants along the route for the Fun Run. Remember, the point is for everyone to have fun with Kool-Aid.
5 Facts About Edwin Perkins You Need To Know
He was born in Iowa
Perkins was born in Lewis, Iowa, but he and his wife considered Hastings, Nebraska, their home.
He was deeply influenced by Jell-O
His decision to get into the pre-packaged food business was influenced by Jell-O, not to mention his way of hyphenating his product names — Nix-O-Tine, Motor-Vigor, Onor-Maid, Glos-Comb, Jel-Aid, E-Z-Wash, and Kool-Aid.
A remedy for a tobacco habit
He invented a tobacco remedy, Nix-O-Tine, which became popular, especially after veterans with cigarette habits returned home from World War I.
He started the Onor-Maid products
Perkins manufactured and sold more than 125 different items including lotions, medicines, and soaps.
He established foundations
Perkins and his wife established foundations for philanthropic purposes after the General Foods sale.
Why We Love Kool Aid Day
Kool-Aid is refreshing
Kool-Aid has been around for many many years. Not only it is refreshing, but there are also many drinks to make with Kool-Aid. From Pink Paradise Punch to Kool-Aid Rainbow Drink, Kool-Aid is there to quench your thirst.
There is a Kool-Aid Days festival
Want to participate in a fun run and walk? There is a Kool-Aid Days 5K Fun Run & Walk. Looking for an adventure? Kool-Aid Kardboard Boat Races will be held on Lake Hastings. Or if you want to show off your classic car or truck, register it to Lochland Car Show and Cruise.
It pays tribute to the Kool-Aid inventor
Without Edwin Perkins, there would not be this popular Kool-Aid. He started at a young age, and apart from Kool-Aid, he created other products. Then, he established foundations. He is an inspiring man.
Kool Aid Day dates