Purple Power Play draws K-State fans downtown


    For two evenings every year, there is a K-State party on Poyntz Avenue.
    Those two evenings provide thousands of Manhattan residents and visitors with the opportunity to celebrate the start of the football season with fireworks, live music and cotton candy.
    The aim of the annual event is to get K-State fans excited about the upcoming football season, and radio personality Dave Lewis was on hand to make sure excitement was high.
    The K-State Marching Band was also on Poyntz doing its part to rouse K-State spirit. Band members played traditional favorites and debuted a few new renditions of classic rock tunes they have been working on.
    As the band played the “Wabash Cannonball,” Lewis led the purple-clad onlookers in a “two-block Wabash party.”
    There were activities for everyone from children to parents. Tents from local businesses, fire trucks and food vendors were among the attractions.
    While she wasn’t with anyone who wanted to linger near the inflatable play area, Manhattan resident Katie Welch was there with members of her family.
    Welch, who graduated from a Missouri college, said her husband is a die-hard K-State supporter who makes the family go every year.
    “[Purple Power Play on Poyntz] is part of our family history,” Welch said.
    Welch said the first exposure she ever had to Manhattan was at the event several years ago. While Katie admitted she called the party “Purple Hell” after that first encounter, she also said she has warmed up to the Wildcat culture.
    “She knows the fight song and part of the alma mater,” Kelly Welch, instructor of family studies and human services and Katie’s mother-in-law, said.
    Kelly also said she and her family have gone to the event most years since they moved to Manhattan. 
    When the sun set, the real show started. Purple, red and blue lit the faces of Wildcat fans in the audience as the Intrust Bank fireworks show filled the sky with bright colors.