High temperatures didn't stop the crowd from showing up to Picnic in the Park on opening night of the Kansas Wheat Festival. However the triple digits did cause some tense moments.
Shortly after 7 p.m., in the middle of the variety show, an older gentleman collapsed and was tended to by a couple of local doctors who were at the event, the victims was transported to the hospital via ambulance. Wellington Fire and EMS officials said the emergency was a product of the heat. A few minutes after that, a young woman also collapsed and left the event via private vehicle; EMS officials said that incident might not have been due to the high temperatures.
Helping battle the degrees, Wellington's Aviator Church provided free bottles of water during the picnic.
"They handed out 1,100 bottles of water," said Shelley Hansel-Williams, Executive Director at the Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce. "Obviously, hydrating is key." The church will be at several more wheat fest events passing out water.
The Picnic in the Park has taken place at Melody Bowl for the past several years, but the bigger Sellers Park was still jam packed.
"If numbers are any indications, people are saying there were 1,500 to 1,800 people here," Hansel-Williams said. "That's by far one of the biggest events we've had." It's safe to expect the picnic will be at Sellers Park again next year.
"This event is growing every year," Hansel-Williams added. "There's nothing quite like it."
Moving on to Thursday, the party moves downtown. Official Wheat Festival events begin at 10 a.m. with Chamber Coffee at Daylight Donuts, later in the evening is The Wellington Daily News Cow Chip Throwing contest at 6:30 p.m. The first street dance will begin at 8 p.m. with performers Turnback Creek and Marty Haggard. For a complete list of events, check out the official Kansas Wheat Festival program.