Neosho's fall festival is still on.


Neosho's fall festival is still on.

Dubbed “the Autumn Harvest” for the last couple of years, the all-day fall festival is set for Oct. 2.
There had been some concern among city organizers that this year's event might not happen, given Neosho's present financial troubles. Last year's festival had a net loss of roughly $3,400, according to Neosho parks and recreation director Todd Banes, who was handed the responsibility of planning the festival following the elimination last month of the city events coordinator position.

Banes recently met with local community leaders and business people to figure out a way to keep the  Autumn Harvest going.

Most of the $3,400 lost last year was in the form of television, radio and print advertising. This year, however, the advertising marketers are being solicited as sponsors, meaning much of the advertising would be free, according to Banes.

Also, as a result of the recent meeting, the city is leaning more heavily this year on the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce to pull off the event.

According to chamber president Rick Rogers, the chamber will provide assistance to the city with promotion of the festival, putting together activities and helping staff on the day of the event.

“The Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce and its board of directors are pleased to help the City of Neosho in promoting, staffing and doing everything we can to make sure the citizens of our community can enjoy another successful Fall Festival," Rogers said. "We, as a chamber, felt the fall festival was too important to see it not be held this October. We are pleased to work with Todd Banes and the city staff to put together what we think will be a great fall festival for 2010.”

Sponsorships, donations and vendors booth fees should cover any other costs incurred by the city. Banes said he is expecting 50-60 food and merchandise vendors to set up on the Neosho Square this year.

“We’re open to anyone that would like to come join us,” Banes said, referring to vendors. “They’re more than welcome to call us at the Rec Plex (451-8090) and we’ll send them a vendor packet.”

Other activities being planned for both on and around the Square include live music and other entertainment, a dunk tank and inflatable play equipment for the kids.

Also, the Newton County Historical Society is again bringing in wagon rides on the Square as part of its sister-fall festival event, History Alley, that same day at the Newton County Historical Park, just one block northeast of the Square. The historical society event, held in conjunction with the city’s Autumn Harvest, will include various hands-on historical, Silver Dollar City-like demonstrations such as blacksmithing, straw broom making, candle-making, lye soap making and lots more, including live Ozark music and even an old-timey, period revival.

Additionally, the Neosho Arts Council is once more hosting an area art show at the Civic Center, one block southwest of the Square. The show gives area artists an opportunity to display their work and allows local art connoisseurs a central place to see what’s out there in the regional market. To find out how to register for the art show, call Neosho Arts Council president John Mills at 451-2885.

Banes said he was pleased with the “very good community response” to keeping the Neosho fall festival going.

“I think everybody wants it to continue and we’re looking forward to doing it this year,” Banes said.