Power Play kicks off Wednesday in the park

By Megan Moser

Purple Power Play brings the pep to City Park on Wednesday and Thursday night.

The annual rally for Wildcat fans is moving from its traditional location on Poyntz Avenue because of road construction there. Organizers said they expect the new venue to be even better.

“We’re really excited about having the event at the park this year,” said Linda Vescio, Purple Power Play board member. “I think it’s going to give us lots of room. I think it will work better for our vendors, for attendees, and it gives us access to a stage.”

The two-night event is also earlier in the week than it normally is. That is to accommodate the Friday night season-opener against North Dakota State.

The action begins Wednesday with a Willie the Wildcat photo op from 5 to 7 p.m. in the park pavilion. That’s followed by performances from local dance studios and the Mikey Needleman Band playing at 7 p.m. At 8:05, the pep rally begins. It will feature K-State coaches, the marching band, cheerleaders and Classy Cats and Willie the Wildcat.

On Thursday, Purple Power Play begins at 6 p.m. with the MHS Pops Choir, then dance performances and the band David Oakleaf and The Open Road at 7 p.m. At 8:05 p.m. the pep rally will rev up again with more K-State coaches, the band, cheerleaders, Classy Cats and Willie himself.

Bill Snyder is expected to make an appearance on one of the nights, but Vescio said the board couldn’t say which night. She said the athletics department prefers to keep that a surprise.

Both nights of the event will include food and other vendors, community booths, and an inflatables carnival. Thursday night’s pep rally will conclude with a fireworks display.

Vescio said this year’s Purple Power Play will be more pedestrian-friendly. A few streets within the park might be closed at some points, but all streets adjacent to it will remain open. Also, the event will mostly take place near the pavilion, so the rest of the park will remain open for other activities.

Parking is limited, so attendees may want to take advantage of a free shuttle provided by ATA Bus beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. Pick-up and drop-off locations are the Beach Museum of Art parking lot and the parking lot just behind the Community House at Fourth and Humboldt streets.

Vescio said it’s not yet clear whether Purple Power Play will remain in the park in the coming years. Once the Poyntz construction is finished, the street will be narrower, she said, and might be too narrow for fire trucks to navigate when there are vendors and booths on each side of the road.

” Plus, on Poyntz we were forced to keep it long and thin,” she added. “As it got bigger it kept going further and further down Poyntz.”

She said people will have plenty of room to spread out in the park.

Aside from the heat, which is projected to hit the high 90s, Vescio said, it should be an enjoyable event.

“I think it’s going to be great,” she said.

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