People everywhere are gearing up for fall festivals. And, Springfield is no different. Plans for this 6th annual event are shaping up nicely. This year’s activities will be taking place on October 27-28 in downtown Springfield.
The Springfield Fall Festival was started by the Springfield Merchants Association (SMA) in 2012. The SMA felt that the City of Springfield needed an outdoor festival and they were willing to host the event themselves as a fund raiser. Springfield City Council gave the merchants permission to host the festival and have been supportive of the event ever since. The SMA has been very successful in creating a wonderful event for the community.
As the festival has grown, so have the expenses and volunteers needed to execute it. In 2016, the City of Springfield agreed to help the SMA with the festival and began to fund and organize the event. City staff manages a lot of the day-to-day activates that are needed leading up to the festival. The SMA still provides most of the volunteers that help during setup and during the festival days. With this partnership, they have been able to provide quality entertainment and the necessary staff to facilitate the planning and organizing of the event.
Erin Phillips, Community Development Director for the City of Springfield stated, “The SMA did an outstanding job of creating this festival and putting in the hard work to get it started. We hope that we can build on this foundation and continue to provide an exceptional festival for the residents and business owners in Springfield.”
For the past 5 years, the festival has been earlier in the month of October. But, in 2016, Hurricane Mathew forced the festival to be delayed. The planning committee realized a later date in the month was more suitable for the festival. Phillips adds, “The weather is cooler and there are fewer conflicting events. We intend to host the Fall Festival on the fourth weekend in October in future years.”
As always, this year’s festival is free to the public. And, this year’s headline entertainment will be Aaron Tippin! He will be performing on stage Saturday night! “Country music seems to be the crowd favorite and we try to find a well-known name for our main festival day. Joe Diffie and Confederate Railroad were a huge success last year. On Friday, we try to add some variety. This year, we have an Allman Brothers tribute band coming. We will have opening acts for both Friday and Saturday night and we will be announcing them soon. We also hope to fill the stage with entrainment all day on Saturday and give our local talent some time to shine,” says Phillips.
The festival will be hosted on Laurel Street. The streets will be closed from red light to red light – aka Madison St to Second St. The stage will be set up in front of City Hall and the food court will be in the Mars Theatre parking lot.
General craft vendors, resale vendors and food vendors will be set up again this year. There were a few food trucks last year, and the food court area has been expanded this year to accommodate more.
The vendors will line the street and there should be plenty of overflow space. They are hoping to have more vendors than last year. When asked how they will be taking on new vendors, Phillips answers, “We have different areas with different pricing. You can find all the information and download the application on our website: www.SpringfieldFallFestival.
There will be a kids area set up and the city is hoping local non-profits can help out by offering carnival games as their booths. They will have bouncy houses for the kids as well.
The SMA will be hosting a car show again this year. The car show last year received rave reviews and they festival goers and car owners really enjoyed it. The car show will be held in front of Cleveland Street.
This sounds like a fun time…one you won’t want to miss.
** Information for Festival Goers:
Phillips adds, “Closing streets is always confusing for those trying to get around town. We try to have signs out showing people to take Railroad Avenue or Pine Street to bypass the festival area. We usually worry about parking, but most people follow the signs and know where to park. We do caution people to not block any roads or any other vehicles. The only parking restrictions we have are that behind City Hall, which is reserved for vendors. The public is not allowed to park there.