Haysville set for 57th annual Sommerfest


HAYSVILLE — Get ready for screaming, $35,000 garden tractors, slip-and-slide kickball with swimming pools in place of bases and the tastiest dressing to be found south of the East Fork of the White River.

That and more is on tap at the 57th annual Haysville Ruritan Sommerfest, which takes place at Haysville’s 20-acre park Friday and Saturday.

Matthew Lichlyter has been a Ruritan member for four years. He has already ascended to the club’s presidency and is excited about putting out a fest lineup that will hopefully draw as many festgoers as he remembers coming to town in his youth.

“I remember when I came out here when I was a little kid,” Lichlyter says. “It was packed. All the time. That’s what we’re trying to get it back to.”

The Haysville Ruritan does everything from putting up flags throughout the community during holidays to helping pay the town’s street light bill.

Lichlyter says Ruritan Vice President Don Vonderheide is in charge of giving the secret soaking to the chicken that will be fried at the festival.

“We do that all on site,” says Lichlyter, adding that Vonderheide is head chef.

When it comes to details about the Sommerfest’s fried chicken or its homemade dressing mix, “it’s still the Haysville recipe,” assures fest organizer Bryant Kieffner.

And, Lichlyter and Kieffner add, all else involving those recipes is a secret. Just know that the club expects to sell 1,700 chicken dinners and 300 pork chop plates.

“We’re gearing up,” Kieffner said, while cutting hay near the park to make room for more parking.

Other food offerings include cobblers and ice cream from Dubois Boy Scout Troop No. 170 and ice cream sandwiches sold by Jasper High School Girl Scout Troop 60.

The slip-and-slide kickball tourney and a Jeep run — both Saturday — are popular events back after having been added to the fest lineup last year. Both events take place after a popular 5K run/walk, which fires off at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Friday’s entertainment will include a Tristate Tractor Pulling Association garden tractor pull, which is expected to bring about 60 machines to Haysville.

“There’s $20,000 motors on those tractors,” says Kieffner, who knows how much money can be sunk into one. He had five at one time.

“If you’d want to build a Pro Stock garden tractor, you’d definitely have $35,000 in it, if not $40,000. You can probably build a stocker for $5,000 to $7,000.”

Friday night’s music will be provided by Clear Creek and One Night Stand takes the stage from 7 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday.

“Both are amazing, good bands,” Lichlyter says. “And they are both local bands.”

Sommerfest proceeds help the Haysville Ruritan and the Haysville Park. Lichlyter says the Ruritan uses its share of proceeds to assist Haysville’s fire department, stage youth programs like Halloween and Christmas parties and for disaster aid for families in need. The Haysville Ruritan is also planning to make a donation toward the Dubois County Sheriff’s Office’s K-9 program.

Sommerfest schedule


5 p.m. Food line and beer garden opens

5 p.m. Food lines open

6 p.m. WBDC Cornhole registration

7 p.m. Tristate Tractor Pulling Association garden tractor pull and cornhole tourney starts

7-11 p.m. Music by Clear Creek


7 a.m. 5k registration

8 a.m. 5k run/walk

9:30 a.m. Slip-and-slide kickball tourney check-in

10 a.m. Jeep run

10:30 a.m. Slip-and-slide kickball

Noon Beer garden opens

5 p.m. Food lines open

6 p.m. Celebration Singers

7-11:30 p.m. Music by One Night Stand

10 p.m. Grand cash raffle drawing (500 tickets sold/$4,000 to be given away)

*Events take place at Haysville Park off U.S. 231, just west of its intersection with State Road 56

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