Holcomb kids say so long to summer

A breeze blew through the trees outside the Holcomb Recreation Commission facility Saturday as Hutchinson-based band Shotgun Sons pounded out tunes like "Feel Like Makin' Love" and "Simple Kind of Man."

Lawn chairs were scattered on the yard outside the recreation facility. Children dug and ran around in the sand volleyball pit after games finished up. And The Ice Cream Wagon served up refreshments.

Life was good and free Saturday night as Holcomb residents, including 11-year-olds Gunner Hebrlee and Alex Barriger, took in the last days of summer before school for Holcomb USD 363 started this morning. Saturday's Holcomb Recreation Commission second annual SummerFest included a bike rodeo, bicycle ride, sand volleyball, inflatables and games for the kids, a treasure dig and free concert and hamburger/hotdog feed at night.

Alex shook sand from his back as he and Gunner sat on the side of the sand pit, making sand sno cones in leftover Styrofoam cups.

"Yeah, we're just messing around," Gunner said. "We're selling them for a quarter if anybody wants one."

The two had yet to sell a sand cone that night as they explained why they were excited for the first day of school to arrive. Alex is headed to the sixth grade, and he's happy because school will give him something to do.

Gunner enters fifth grade this year, saying he's excited about getting his favorite fifth-grade teacher, Pam Foster.

"Foster really likes me, and I really like her," Gunner said.

Of course, there are sacrifices to be made as students trade in summer for the start of school.

"Free time, waking up late, messing around," Gunner listed off as what he enjoys about summer. "I know me and Alex both like sleeping in. It's one of our similarities."

Eric Jantz, director for Holcomb Recreation Commission, said SummerFest is a community event meant to bring Holcomb residents together. There is something everyone can enjoy, he said, and the only charge Saturday was for the sand volleyball tournament.

Jantz said last year's event was held after school started. This year, the rec commission experimented by holding the event right before school started. He estimated the HRC fed between 300 and 350 people and 300 to 500 participated throughout the day with various SummerFest activities.

Jantz threw coins into the sand Saturday night as children anxiously waited to be allowed to venture into the sand.

Maggie Roth, Faith Biermann and Regan Roth, all 11 and sixth-graders this year at Holcomb Middle School, were part of Saturday's SummerFest action.

"I'm excited," Maggie said of school starting.

"So am I," Faith said.

"The summer's getting kind of boring," Maggie explained.

The girls said they've spent their summer free time on activities like playing softball, swimming at the pool, hanging out with the baby sitter and spending time with friends.

Both Maggie and Faith said they were looking forward "to just being in a new school." Faith said the most nerve-wracking thing on the Sunday before school starts is choosing what she's going to wear and worrying about first impressions on teachers.