Special Events in Hays

Blues, BBQ, and Bargains
An annual summer event spread over the course of a weekend, Blues, BBQ, and Bargains has something to offer for the entire family. Beginning with a messy Kansas City Style BBQ eating contest, the event also includes live bands, a car cruise, fun activities for children, and plenty of bargains lining the Chestnut Street District in downtown Hays. Who could pass up food, music, and shopping, all in one place?

Taste of Downtown Hays
For this yearly event, a number of downtown Hays restaurateurs open their doors for an evening of entertainment and taste testing. Taking a cue from supermarkets, restaurants serve up bite-sized previews of their signature recipes, as participants move from business to business, sampling their dishes. Before the evening is over, participants are given the chance to vote for the “Tastiest Business in Downtown Hays” and the winning chef takes home a prized Golden Fork Award. 

This traditional event, running through the holiday season, including a Holiday Open House at businesses along Chestnut Street and a tree-lighting ceremony, culminates in the much-anticipated Illuminated Parade. During this treat for children and the whole community, floats decked out in Christmas lights glide along “Candy Cane Lane” while Santa and Mrs. Claus wave from the top of a fire truck. This seasonal event is not to be missed for getting in the holiday spirit.

Wild West Festival
At this patriotic special-event taking place over the Fourth of July weekend, a plethora of fun activities for the whole family are scheduled. Highlights include a 5K Run/Walk, opportunities for kids to meet Wild West characters like Wild Bill Hickok, fashion shows, and performances by rock and country artists. Also of particular interest are the Fireworks Spectacular, always a crowd-pleaser, and the “Proud to Be American” parade down Main Street.

Gallery Walks
These cultural events, taking place four times a year, offer the public a chance to stroll though Hay’s art offerings in a leisurely and neighborly atmosphere. Local banks, the Public Library, antique stores, hair salons, and artist’s studios, in addition to traditional galleries, open their doors for an enjoyable evening, showcasing the paintings, sculpture, photography (and more) created by Hay’s talented local artists. Gallery walk maps are available to guide participants on their stroll.