For its 19th year, Bellwood Daze is providing area community members an opportunity to participate in an assortment of family-friendly activities that cater to most people’s interests in one way or another.
Founded in 1999, the festival was originally intended to serve as an annual, multiple-year lead-up to the village’s 125th anniversary in 2005.
“That year was really huge, we had just a ton of people come out for that,” Festival President Dave Hough said, adding that Bellwood is comprised of approximately 350 people.
This year’s Bellwood Daze is set to run from Friday, Aug. 3, through Sunday, Aug. 5. Once again, festival attendees have the chance to compete in sand volleyball, attend a street dance and car show, along with stopping by an assortment of garage sales and visiting food vendors.
City-wide garages sales run from 8 a.m. through 6 p.m. Friday and continue from 8 a.m. through 4 p.m. Saturday. The Burger Bash/Pie & Ice Cream Stand returns to Main Street in conjunction with entertainment provided by the Mark Vyhlidal Polka Band.
Mark Vyhlidal, band founder, was inducted into the Nebraska Music Hall of Fame in 2017. He and his five-piece polka band have been serenading downtown attendees since at least 2000.
Playing a variety of polkas and waltzes, he and his band aim to preserve the music’s rich history.
“It’s a nice event and they have barbecue and other foods and it’s a really nice venue,” said Vyhlidal, who also serves as Fremont’s streets supervisor. “It’s out on the street and we’ve never had any problems with rain or anything like that. It’s a fun, free, family event.”
Although much of the musical variety is traditional waltz and polka ballads, some of the tunes are a little more upbeat.
“Sometimes they (attendees) will go up and dance when we play The Chicken Dance or the Hokey Pokey, just some stuff to get them moving,” he said.
On Saturday, some of the key activities include the 8 a.m. 2 and 6-mile River Run, the all-day Sand Volleyball Tourney and a 9 p.m. street dance, featuring The Rude Band. Saturday’s Beer Garden located along North Main Street opens at 6 p.m. and runs until 1 a.m.
The volleyball tournament is always a draw for not only Bellwood community members, but also for out-of-towners.
“About 80 percent of the sand volleyball is from out of town,” Hough said of those registered for this year’s event.
Hough said that he expects Sunday’s Car Show, being held on Main Street from 9 a.m. through 3 p.m., to once again draw quite a crowd. Last year, Hough said that approximately two-and-a-half blocks of space were filled with antique cars and even a few old tractors.
“The American Legion puts on a heck of a show and they have music going and all sorts of great stuff that they give and raffle away,” he said. “They also give away some really beautiful trophies, too, for people who win the different car divisions.”
Although all the different events offered to festival attendees are exciting and entertaining, what Hough really enjoys is the teamwork and camaraderie aspect of Bellwood Daze.
“I just like how the community gets together to put this on each year,” he said. “It takes a lot of people to run something like this, and everyone just does their little part and that makes it run pretty easily.”
For more information and a full listing of events, those interested are encouraged to visit www.bellwoodnebraska.com and click on the Bellwood Daze 2018 tab.
Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at email@example.com.