Cold temperatures and rain weren’t enough to stop Neosho’s annual Fall Festival event on Saturday.

The all day affair attracted several event goers, who showed up to the downtown square for food, crafts, games and entertainment.

Wes Franklin, the city’s public relations and events coordinator, and the main organizer of Saturday’s festival, said about 75 of the 90 registered vendors still showed up for the event, despite the weather.

“We knew there was a chance of rain, but we knew we couldn’t help that, we’re just glad that everybody came out,” Franklin said.

This year’s fall festival included several new attractions, including a children’s fishing event at Big Spring Park, new musical acts, and a coaster car race.

“We’ve done a lot of new things this year,” Franklin said. “We’ll probably add more to it next year and maybe try some of the same new things we’ve done this year.”

While on the square, event goers had the chance to take part in free children’s activities, including a sidewalk chalk contest, art activities in the Art Feeds Mobile Art Center, inflatables, and a rock climbing wall.

The square was also lined with a variety of vendors, featured a full line-up of musical acts on stage in the southwest corner of the square, included pet adoptions, a silent auction to benefit the Newtonia Battlefields Protection Association, pony rides and wagon rides.

Cassie McClendon was among the attendees at Saturday’s event.

She said she brought her family out to enjoy one of her favorite Neosho events.

“I grew up here and this used to be one of my favorite festivals,” McClendon said. “I lived in California for about 10 years and moved back two years ago, so I just wanted to enjoy it, rain and all.”

McClendon said her favorite aspect of the fall festival is that it brings the community together.

The day was also a hit with her children.

“They love it,” McClendon said. “The fact that these bouncehouses are free and there’s the horses and the wagons and the fire department and all that.”

The festivities also spilled out from beyond the square, with the coaster car race taking place at Hickory and Washington Street, an art show and pancake feed at the Neosho Civic Center, fishing and events planned in Big Spring Park, an open house at Neosho Fire Station 1, and the annual History Alley event at the Newton County Historical Park.

Among those with displays at the History Alley event was Doug Crane, of Joplin, who has been creating banjos for about 10 years.

He had different banjos, as well as some that aren’t completed yet, on display Saturday.

“It probably takes around 45-50 hours to do one,” Crane said.

He said he got the idea to try to build a banjo, and, around the same time, a coworker purchased a book about building banjos at a garage sale.

He bought the book from her for a quarter and has now built 42 banjos, selling several of the instruments he makes.

However, Crane didn’t stick with the same design he started with, and said he constantly changes the design.
“His banjos are like snowflakes, no two alike,” said Crane’s friend, Doug Glenn.

Crane has used unique supplies to create his banjos, including materials from buildings ruined in the May 2011 Joplin tornado.

“None of them are alike, they’re all different,” Crane said of his banjos. “If you look at them, the tops of them are different, some of the tail ends are different. They’ve all got a different design to them.”