Oh yeeeeeeeaaaaah! Kool-Aid Days during the second weekend of August recognizes the invention of Edwin Perkins in 1927. The event takes place annually in Hastings, Nebraska. Weekend activities include live musical entertainment, an auction and a beauty pageant known as “Miss Kool-Aid Days.”A Nebraska businessman, Perkins originally marketed the soft drink as “Kool-Ade.” Of the original six flavors, cherry, grape, orange, lemon, and root beer, the inventor’s personal favorite came in raspberry. Perkins said he was inspired by the successes of Jello and Coca-Cola.
While the product originally sold as a concentrate, shipping problems helped spark the product’s success. The expense of shipping the bottled concentrate prompted the manufacturer to switch to the powdered version we’ve all come to know and love.
The original name of the product was “Fruit Smack.” The company changed the name when they switched to powder. When the Great Depression hit, the company cut the price of Kool-Aid in half. The strategy paid off, and Kool-Aid kept its popularity through the economic downturn’s worst years. Packages of Kool-Aid (minus the brand name) were included in soldiers’ rations during World War II. Davy Jones of the Monkeys appeared in television commercials for Kool-Aid in the sixties.
Baby Boomers will remember the cartoon “Kool-Aid Kids” of the 1960s. Even though the company created the spokesman Kool-Aid Man in the 1950s, he didn’t come into his own until the 1980s. Kool-Aid man now pops up occasionally on television in comedy shows like Robot Chicken and Family Guy. Kool-Aid is the official state soft drink of Nebraska.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Plan to attend and enjoy Kool-Aid Days. Try fried Kool-Aid, which is basically a pancake with Kool-Aid powder added in the mix. Marinate dill pickles in Kool-Aid. You could also make Kool-Aid Play-Doh.
Use #KoolAidDays in social media.
Kraft Foods founded Kool-Aid Days.