Celebrate Neosho 2021 to revamp

Seth Kinker

Celebrate Neosho, the annual event on the last Saturday of June, with day-long festivities and events capped off by a firework display at dark, will be going through some changes.

After not holding the event last year due to COVID-19, the agenda item was to update the council on where they were at in the planning stages for this year’s event, request waiving vendor fees this year and make it invite-only for the vendors.  

“We changed the location; we didn’t have it last year. There’s just been a lot going on,” said City Clerk Rachel Holcomb. “We just wanted to take the time to celebrate Neosho and to have our vendors be from here, have our civic groups play a larger part and really get the community involved and have games and activities for kids and adults.”

“We had budgeted we’d get about $2,000 in vendor fees, but redoing this event like we are planning to do, that wouldn’t be possible,” added Holcomb. “There just wouldn’t be that many vendors.”

Paul Richardson, representing the Events Board, spoke next, mentioning that they wanted to set a foundation for years to come and leave a template on how to run the event for whoever came after.

Councilmember Tim Workman asked what would happen if vendors weren’t Neosho-based. Richardson responded that the vendors would be limited to Neosho businesses or those that have contributed greatly to Neosho with exclusivity given to civic groups regarding certain specialties like kettle corn.

Members of the council expressed their concern, and asked if the Events Board would be willing to look outside of Neosho if an item was lacking, whether it be seafood, BBQ, or anything else.

“We really want to focus on Neosho vendors unless we don’t have someone to fill that spot,” said Richardson when referring to other specialties that hadn’t been filled yet, like snow cones, for example. 

The council approved the request to remove the vendor fees for this year's event while adding they shouldn't necessarily remove vendor fees permanently moving forward.

Another change to Celebrate Neosho would be starting the event later, with the main festival beginning at 3 p.m., to entice attendees to come and stay throughout the course of the day before the firework display in the evening.

“We just want to make it more of a hometown feel. It is really about celebrating Neosho, celebrating our history and coming together. We’ve all kind of come together in this past year,” said Holcomb.