Rain or shine, the annual Neosho Fall Festival will take place this weekend in downtown Neosho.

Rain or shine, the annual Neosho Fall Festival will take place this weekend in downtown Neosho.
"There's no rain date," Neosho Public Relations Director and Event Coordinator Paul Richardson said. "The fall festival is this weekend. If it rains, the event still happens but but it's not going to rain. It didn't rain at the Bluegrass and Barbecue festival and it won't rain."
The traditional line-up of favorites ranging from food vendors to arts and crafts to a carnival midway and petting zoo will be available as will History Alley adjacent to the Newton County Historical Museum. A model train show and swap will return to the Lampo Center, but will be larger than before. Lumberjack demonstrations will also return and will be located in Morse Park as will laser tag.
One of the new changes this year deals with parking. Although some parking will be available in downtown Neosho, there will also be  plenty of additional, easy to access parking in Morse Park with a shuttle service provided to the Square. Hopes are that the change will alleviate the parking problems of the past.
Two shuttles will run during festival hours both days and will consist of a four-seat golf cart and a horse drawn wagon.
"We want to encourage the public to utilize the parking at Morse Park," Richardson said.
Signs will be place to designate parking areas.
The golf cart will deliver handicapped festival goers to the Neosho Square and are more accessible than the wagons.
"If they make us aware, we can pick up anyone with a handicap at their car," Richardson said.
Shuttles will arrive and depart from the northwest corner of the Neosho Square near the information and first aid booths. There is no cost for the shuttle service and visitors can utilize the shuttles as many times as necessary. In addition, riders on either shuttle can ask to make a stop along the route.
"Since we're not kidnapping them, they can get off the shuttle at any time," Richardson said. "We'll even stop for them."
The Neosho Square will serve as the centerpiece of the annual fall festival and will feature a stage with live entertainment at the southwest corner. About 145 vendors will offer tasty treats ranging from kettle corn to barbecue and root beer, jewelry, handmade crafts and more. The Faithful Friends Animal Advocates will information about their organization as well.
Richardson encourages festival goers to start their day at the annual Lion's Club Pancake and Biscuits and Gravy Feed inside the Civic beginning at 7 a.m.
The portion of the festival centered at The Civic will be hosted by the Neosho Arts Council. Vendors whose work falls into a fine arts category can be found in the area. There will be free art activities for all ages as well as a Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest. Cash prizes will be awarded to the winners. Kids up to age 15 can enter for free while ages 16 through adult have a $10 entry fee. Registration for the event can be made inside the Civic.
Another highlight of the festival is History Alley, located within the historical park at the Newton County Historical Museum on north Washington Street a block from the Neosho square. History Alley offers historically accurate presentations of various crafts, tasks, music, and lifestyles of the mid-1800s, all recreating the Ozarks pioneer past. Demonstrations will include butter churning, dutch oven cooking, blacksmithing, corn grinding, weaving and more. History Alley will be only on Saturday.
Although the kids' carnival midway has been part of the festival before, this year the location is new. The midway will be set up from the corner of East Main Street outside City Hall east to Lafayette Street. There will be pony rides and a petting zoo, inflatables, games, and more including some concessions.
The 4th annual Soap Box Derby will be held on Saturday. A booth will be located on the square for visitors to view the cars in front of City Hall and the race is scheduled to take place on South Washington Street at 1 p.m.
In addition to the many food vendors, there is also the 5th annual Chili Cook Off at Neosho Fire Station Number 1 at 125 North College Street. It is a donation only event and those who attend are encouraged to vote for their favorite chili. The contest between the Neosho Fire Department and the Neosho Police Department offers tasty chili and fun. Parents are invited to bring the kids to see the fire trucks and even put out a fire in the firehouse with one of the hoses.  The chili tasting and judging event is from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Another new feature, a street party will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. on the Square and according to Richardson there will be one style of music, which will be classic rock.
"If it's well-attended, we're looking at providing another genre of music in the future," said Richardson.
No loud generators will be permitted this year and Richardson also said security will be abundant.
"If you are a thief or pickpocket who wants to come down, beware," he said. "We will have excellent security in place. Thieves and burglars are not welcome."
Overnight security will also be in place between the close of the festival on Saturday evening and the Sunday morning opening.
The 2017 Fall Festival Car Show is a Sunday only event and will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. north of the Lampo Center at Morse Park.
With a two day festival filled with numerous events, activities, vendors and entertainment, there's something for everyone of all ages so head to downtown Neosho for the annual Fall Festival, Saturday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., followed by a street party and again on Sunday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.
The Fall Festival will be held rain or shine with all the sights, sounds, tastes and experiences of autumn!