The City of Neosho is kicking off the fall season with a full day of activities scheduled in downtown Neosho.
This year’s Fall Festival event, set for Saturday, Oct. 5, stretches beyond the Neosho Square, and runs all day.
Wes Franklin, Neosho’s public relations and events coordinator, said this year’s event is bigger than the annual festival has been in the past few years, and includes several new attractions.
“We have a lot of new events this year that we haven’t featured before for Neosho Fall Festival,” Franklin said.
Among the new features is a coaster car race, a kids fishing event, games and a theatre performance in Big Spring Park, new musical acts, and several new vendors.
Franklin said he is especially excited about the addition of the coaster car race, which used to be a popular event in Neosho.
“The coaster car race, it’s for people to build a car like a little soapbox derby car,” Franklin said. “It’s a little metal frame car with manual brakes and just basically a very simple steering mechanism.”
Franklin said as the event grows, the city hopes to expand the festival beyond the square, to encompass the downtown area.
This year’s festival does just that, with events stretching out north, west and south of the Neosho Square.
Just a couple blocks west of the square, a kids fishing time will be held in Big Spring Park.
The event offers a new twist to the fishing derbies held at other city events in the past, which are usually along Hickory Creek in Morse Park, as this time, young anglers will get to catch a few trout in the middle of downtown Neosho.
Franklin said the trout are being supplied by the Neosho National Fish Hatchery, and the fishing time is open to children 15 years old and younger.
“We do it in Morse Park for Celebrate Neosho but, as far as I know, it’s never been done in Big Spring Park,” Franklin said. “We’re doing that from 9-11 on the north side of the park, north of the fish pool, and the Neosho National Fish Hatchery is stocking the big spring with trout.”
The Art Feeds Mobile Art Center will also be offering art activities at the Fall Festival for the first time this year, and the Neosho Fire Department will host a special 125th anniversary celebration, complete with a chili cook-off.
The festival will also see some of its popular attractions return this year, including a pancake feed, wagon rides, live music, an art exhibit, inflatables, History Alley at the Newton County Historical Park, along with many more attractions.
Franklin said $8,000 has been budgeted for this year’s Neosho Fall Festival, with more than half of that coming from hotel/motel tax funds and the rest from expected revenue.
He said he expects a come-and-go crowd of 1,500 to 2,000 people at Saturday’s event.
Neosho’s Fall Festival will kick off with a pancake feed at 7 a.m. and all day activities, including the vendors, will wrap up at 5 p.m. The following is a complete schedule of the day’s activities.
• Pancake feed – The Neosho Lions Club will again host their annual pancake feed, starting at 7 a.m. at the Neosho Civic Center, 109 W. Main St. The cost for the breakfast is a $5 donation.
• Sidewalk chalk competition – The sidewalk chalk art competition, hosted by the Neosho Arts Council, runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of the Neosho Civic Center. Children under the age of 16 can enter for free, while those older will be charged a $10 fee. One box of pastels will be provided and the event includes $1,000 in total cash prizes.
• Food and crafts – The Neosho Square will be lined with a variety of food and craft vendors from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Franklin said 75 vendors had signed up as of Friday, though he is expecting several more. While it is too late to be included on the vendor map, he said space will likely still be available for vendors interested in signing up. Call Franklin at 451-8050 if interested in being a vendor at the festival. The city is also offering a harvest market for vendors selling only fresh produce. Fresh produce vendors can set up free of charge in the parking lot of the former Mills Park Centre, at the corner of Spring Street and College Street.
• Live music – This year’s music line-up features some new acts as well as returning performers. Musical acts will perform on the square from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include Folk and Roll from 9 to 10 a.m., Riverbend from 10 to 11 a.m., Lost Creek Promenaders, whose performance also offers square dancing on the Neosho square, from noon to 1 p.m., Breaking Silence from 1 to 2 p.m., Theo Mason from 2 to 3 p.m. and the Conservatory of the Ozarks from 3 to 4 p.m.
• Activities on the square – The square will also feature several activities, including free inflatables for kids, pony rides for $4 and wagon rides for just under $5. The Art Feeds Mobile Art Center will also be in Neosho from 9 a.m. to noon offering free art activities for kids. The mobile art center will be located just in front of the Neosho Civic.
• Coaster car race – A new addition to the fall festival, the coaster car race will kick off at 10 a.m. at the corner of Washington Street and Hickory Street. Weigh-in for the race is set for 8 a.m. Participants are asked to pre-register at city hall by Wednesday. For a full list of rules and the entry form, visit the city’s website at www.neoshomo.org. Entry for the race is $10. Call Rich Matters at 389-3850 or Kendall Brockman at 389-6818 for more information about the coaster car race.
• Big Spring Park events – Events at Big Spring Park will kick off at 9 a.m. with the kids fishing event. The event is open to participants ages 15 and younger. The young fishermen will need to provide their own fishing poles and bait, and must have a trout stamp if they plan to keep the fish they catch. No stamp is required if they plan to catch and release.
At 11 a.m., following the fishing time, childrens games will be held in the park, including sack races and a hay bale maze.
Then at 1 p.m. students from Crowder College’s theatre department will perform on the stage in Big Spring Park, also a new addition to the fall festival.
• Art exhibit – From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. the Neosho Arts Council will host an art exhibit and sale at the Civic. For more information on the exhibit, contact John Mills at 592-0427.
• Fire Department anniversary – The Neosho Fire Department will celebrate their 125th anniversary from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with door prizes and a history display, which will include their 1923 fire truck. At 11 a.m. Rep. Bill Reiboldt will hold a formal presentation honoring the department, which will be immediately followed by a chili cook-off between the department’s shifts. The public will serve as the judge for the cook-off.
• History Alley – An annual event held by the Newton County Historical Society, History Alley will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Newton County Historical Park, one block north of the square on Washington Street. The event includes historical demonstrations such as soap making, wood carving and blacksmithing, as well as demonstrations by Civil War reenactors.
• Pet Contest – Faithful Friends Animal Advocates will host a pet contest from noon to 1 p.m. on the southwest corner of the square. The group will also offer pet adoptions during the festival.
For more information on Neosho’s Fall Festival visit www.neoshomo.org, find City of Neosho on Facebook, or call city hall at 451-8050.
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Full Schedule of Events:
7 a.m.-10:30 a.m. – Lions Club Pancake Feed: Neosho Civic
8 a.m.-2 p.m. – Sidewalk Chalk Art Competition: In front of Neosho Civic
9 a.m.-5 p.m. – Food and Crafts Vendors on the Square.
9 a.m.-4 p.m. – Live Music on the Square
9 a.m.-5 p.m. – Inflatable rides. Southeast corner of Square.
9 a.m.-5 p.m. – Pony Rides. Just east of the Square on Spring Street.
9 a.m.-5 p.m.- Wagon Rides: On and around the Square.
9 a.m.-4 p.m. – Art Exhibition and Sale: Neosho Civic
9 a.m.-11 a.m. – Kids Fishing Time: North side of Big Spring Park.
9 a.m.-12 p.m. – Art Feeds Mobile Art Center, in front of Neosho Civic
10 a.m. – Coaster Car Race and Show: Corner of Washington and Hickory
10 a.m.-3 p.m. – Fire Department 125th Anniversary Open House: Fire Station 1, 125 N. College St.
10 a.m. – 3 p.m. – History Alley: Newton County Historical Park and Museum, 121 N. Washington St.
10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. – Music and voice performances by the Conservatory of the Ozarks: Neosho Civic.
11 a.m.-1 p.m. Kids games: Big Spring Park.
12 p.m.- 3 p.m. – Dance performances: Neosho Civic.
12 p.m.- 1 p.m. – Pet Contest: Band stage, southwest corner of the Square.