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203 E. Main
Neosho, MO 64850
Ph: 417-451-8050
Fx: 417-451-8065
Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Fall Festival

In order to provide information to the Council and the Citizens of Neosho, the following report is submitted for review.  This will give you insight to some of the behind the scenes issues associated with the planning, logistics and presentation of this event.  This information is provided for transparency and information.

October 3, 2016

Summary Report on City of Neosho’s Fall Festival

Event date:      October 1 & 2, 2016

Event time:      9 am to 5 pm
Event locale:   Historic Downtown Neosho
Event cycle:    annual, repeating on first full weekend in October

Summary of event:

The annual Fall Festival in downtown Neosho featuring art, crafts, food, live music and more.  A portion of this festival is to give back to the citizens of Neosho through the hosting of the event and by providing funding of certain features without charge to attendees.  Inflatables were provided for children attending the event at no charge.  In order to participate in this area registration with a guardians signature was required.  This provided excellent information for the event management.  On Saturday October 1, 2016, 897 participants utilized the inflatable area.  These participants were signed in by 570 independent adult guardians.  This reflects an attendance in this area of a minimum of 1,467 individuals.  On Sunday October 2, 2016, 414 participants were signed in by 276 guardians for a total of 690 individuals.  While this only reflects a portion of the attendance, it is a strong indicator of the level of attendance that was seen this year.  It can also be used to project total attendance.  If we look at crowd density and total surface area of the Festival in conjunction with some other factors, an estimation can be projected.  In visiting with the vendors, the main food vendors that were providing meal type service reported the following:  These vendors ran out of food or were very near depletion on Saturday.  This information was provided by seven of the largest food vendors.  Sales were well above average on Saturday and at near normal Festival levels on Sunday, not a Sunday level, but a near normal level for Saturday.  The area of the inflatables occupied ½ block on Main.  The entire Festival occupied a 6 block comparative area.  An adjustment was made to reflect the additional areas due to width of the blocks around the square.  Based on crowd density, level of sales from vendors, surface area of event and examination of parking throughout the city, estimation of the attendance on Saturday is estimated to be 6,500-7,000.  Sunday’s attendance using the same formula is estimated at 3,200-3,500.  

Response from vendors:

The only complaint from vendors was in regards to the number of competing vendors in specific products.  These were isolated to only 2 complaints from the entire vendor population.  In order to grow this event, the plan and philosophy is that the free market will succeed in making the necessary adjustments.  If we set limits, then within one year of these set limits we will begin to see a stagnation in attendance population.  If the attending crowd finds delays or lack of service, their enthusiasm will diminish and then drop.  Nothing is static, if you are not growing, you will be shrinking.  We will either be moving up or in decline.  Adjustments will occur, but we cannot police and monitor every vendor at this level to insure that they are only providing a specified menu or product.  If we are providing a great festival, as vendors make decisions to exit the festival there will be others willing to take their place.

On the positive side, we have received huge response and compliments from the vendors, many wanting to insure that: 1) They can return next year.  2) They can retain their location.  3) That they would be notified of any other events that we are producing. 

Response from attendees:

Response for attendees has been overwhelming.  Attendees and vendors have both been requested to post their comments on Facebook pages, City of Neosho, City of Neosho Parks & Recreation or Neosho Area Community Events.  This is one of the best marketing tools available to us.  Their positive comments will only help grow our next event in attendance and the desire of vendors to participate.  

Proposed modifications for future planning and recommendations of city staff:

  • Upgrades to the infrastructure providing power to vendor sites.  We have recently been approached about the power infrastructure on North Wood Street and the plans of the Chamber of Commerce to begin the promotion of a Food Truck Friday type event.  Conversations have already been underway as to a plan that would solve both the North Wood Street issue and would adapt to the outside blocks of the square.  The plan under discussion could be implemented on a progressive timeline.  Portions could be budgeted and completed over the next 4 years and could be extended to even 6 years and provide for growth on a steady scale.  In the end we would be able to provide a service and Festival venue that would rival any in the area.
  • Parking is always a problem, especially when you remove significant areas from use.  Prior to 2017 Fall Festival, plans will be developed to address the parking and transportation problems.  The solutions will have a goal of not only addressing the problem, but incorporating well with the theme of the Festival and associated events.
  • Plans are already underway for the 2017 Fall Festival to provide a Model Train Swap Meet and Exhibit in the Lampo Building.  We had an exhibit there on Sunday only this year.  Plans and considerations have been discussed and are in process to further develop this idea.
  • In conjunction with the events in the Lampo, we will be working with the men who put on the Lumberjack Contest and provided the chainsaw wood carving.  We are looking for that event to return in 2017.
  • There are several other items in the wings, but will be presented to the Fall Festival Planning Committee.  Some of the ideas may have been attempted in the past and should be discussed to expose any pitfalls or the benefits.  At this time, we recommend that we just look forward to have great events in 2017!