the sand creek summer daze festival
Sand Creek Charlie’s golden ticket
(SPOOKY MELODRAMA INTRO) Sand Creek today is a GREAT place to have fun exercising, fishing, biking etc. But in the early days of Newton the creek played a vital role in both providing a watering stop for trains, as well as providing a livelihood to many residents. Many legends of the wild west, like the Earp’s, stopped by or lived in Newton for a time. But some figures took residence, and to this day, have never really left. If you wander along Sand Creek on some foggy nights, sometimes you will see a figure on the water seemingly working amid the waves of fog; cutting, scraping and pulling out block shapes amid the shadows. When that cold air comes over you and the goose bumps spring up, you know that you have seen Sand Creek Charlie…
(GOOD GUY INTRODUCTION) This mythical figure of Newton was one of the individuals who took full advantage of the waterway know as Sand Creek. Charles Charlsen, spent most of his life on the creek both brewing, cutting ice and generally overcoming continued bad luck… (OOOOH!)
(BAD LUCK STORY # 1) For a time back then, if you had a cold beer, you’d probably have Charlsen to thank. (YEAH!) Charlsen came to Newton after running a saloon and brewery in rough and tumble Wichita. He saw shootouts, he was held up, and he saw theft by many outlaws. (BOO! HISS!) He needed a new place to call home and eventually ended up in Newton in the early 1870’s, a place equally wild at the time.
In 1872, he built an ice house on the bank of Sand Creek at 811 N. Elm. He owned about a block of land on both sides of the creek. The basement of the house was the equivalent of a two-story building and used to store up to 800 tons of ice year-round. (WOW!)
(BAD LUCK STORY # 2) For four years, starting in 1876 Charlsen ran a brewery on Sand Creek about four blocks north of Athletic Park, in two 16 by 18-foot buildings. It pumped out the beer, capable of producing 96 gallons or 12 kegs a day. Kegs cost $3, less than a single beer at a bar today. Charlsen continued this way of life for four years, selling to Newton saloons such as the Mint, The Custom House, and The Legal Tender. In 1880 the State of Kansas (BAD GUYS!)passed a prohibition law which made Charlsen’s brewery illegal. (BOO! HISS!)
While they gave Charlsen some time to sell his beer, he reported much of it as “stolen” to the state of Kansas. While no record exists, it gives us all hope to think that Charlsen stored the kegs away for personal use, perhaps toasting a time where people could again have the freedom to drink beer. (YEAH!)
(BAD LUCK STORY # 3) With his legal brewing done, Charlsen continued with his business, Charlsen Ice Co., for 37 years until the State of Kansas (STILL BAD GUYS) put out regulations that required ice to be tested for purity. Due to the regular use of Sand Creek by ice skaters, Charlsen’s ice had extra sediments in it and did not meet purity standards. (BOO! HISS!)Charlsen eventually did resume cutting ice later in his life however, and continued to do so until 1928. (YEAH!) It was in that year, on a cold January day, that he walked out onto his beloved Sand Creek, inspected the ice, suffered a stroke and eventually died. (OHHH NO!)
Charlsen’s legacy exists in the wild stories about him, his sightings on the creek, and with his descendants which still call Newton home. Today we bring him back to life to celebrate what the creek brings to us as a community and honor Sand Creek Charlie as the festival’s ambassador of good luck! (YEAH!)
So, when you find him roaming the festival grounds, be sure to shake his hand or give him a high five and good luck will be yours for the upcoming year! (YEAH!)
Win Sand Creek Charlie’s Golden Ticket
How would you and one other like to be Sand Creek Charlie’s guests with all access to the festival? It’s simple to be entered into the contest. All you have to do is buy a discounted button in any of the pre-sale events or locations or through Facebook promotions. All events will be announce here on the website and on our Facebook page. See below for all of the fantastic perks!
• $20 voucher for concessions during the festival
• Concert adult refreshment tickets for two
• Passes for The Hard Redz Event
*(The Golden Ticket is NON TRANSFERABLE and can only be used by ticket winner and named guest)
Sand Creek Charlie
The 2024 Sand Creek Charli will be announced in April…
Past Sand Creek Charlie Ambassadors
The 2023’s Sand Creek Charli was Rachel Bachman. Full of life and vigor, this Hesston resident doesn’t know a stranger and cannot wait to shake your hand or hug you! Watch out!! She may even sing Summertime by Gershwin if she feels compelled. Or do a jig… She is unabashedly Rachel Bachman! When telling her family she was asked to be Sand Creek Charli, her son yelled,“Noooo!! —You are no Dan Heinze!!“ “Gee, thanks”, she muttered! So now she has decided to prove that a female Charli is possible and can kick butt, too! When you know Rachel, her laugh and smile are infectious, yet her passion to love and help the whole family is dear to her heart! As program director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Harvey, Rachel is always looking to promote friendships, family fun and great opportunities to connect.
The 2022 Sand Creek Charlie will be the the elusive Sandsquatch! Sandsquatch has been in and around Newton for many, many years. This year he has decided to come out from hiding, with the help of many kind Newtonians, and be the spokesperson for the festival.
2021’s Sand Creek Charlie was Newton resident Leroy Koehn. Leroy is a local businessman and city leader who owns Koehn Painting, one of the largest and most trusted painting companies for residential and commercial painting in the Newton, Wichita and surrounding areas. His family continues to be involved with the business as his daughter has worked in various roles for the last 14 years and it is not an uncommon occurrence that 1 or more of his 12 grandchildren help grandpa coordinate and run errands or come work for a week during the summer.
One of Leroy’s other passions aside from his business, family and working out at the local Newton YMCA, is his Newton Community. His past and current involvement includes past President Newton Chamber of Commerce, past President Newton Rotary Club, past President Harvey Co. Builders Association, President elect Peace Connections, two term Newton City Commission, two-time Mayor of Newton, and member of Harvey County Council of Governments.
2019’s Sand Creek Charlie was Newton resident David Yoder. David was born in Newton and a Newton high graduate. He graduated from Wichita State and Washburn Law School. He served in the Air Force ROTC while in college. Since 1982 he has served in the legal community and has been an attorney, judge and prosecutor. His civic involvement includes, Newton Rotary, Harvey County Bar Association, Heart to Heart Child Advocacy Task Force, Family Advocate Support Team, Harvey County Drug Free Youth Coalition, and many more.
David is a member and past Deacon at First Presbyterian Church of Newton. He and his wife Lori have been married for 19 years and they have six children and eleven grand children. In their spare time David helps Lori’s dog boarding business named Buster’s Trails.
2018’s Sand Creek Charlie was Newton resident Dan Heinze. Dan started his business career in downtown Newton in 1988. He is a champion for downtown and the entire community of Newton. Dan was chosen by the Sand Creek Summer Daze Committee because he is a strong advocate for giving back and being engaged in the community with his time and resources.
Dan has served several times on the Newton Area Chamber of Commerce board as an ambassador and as Past President. He has also served on the Harvey County Economic Development board and many years on the Newton Substance Abuse board of which he is Past President. Dan has been a loyal Newton Lion’s Club member and is currently the President. For many years, Dan has been an Elder at the First Baptist Church and a friend and supporter of USD 373, having a seat on the Railer Booster board.