Organizers of the city of Warrenton’s annual Fall Festival believe this year was the biggest in the community event’s five-year history.“We had more vendors this year, we had more attendance …
Warrenton's Fall Festival was 'biggest ever'
By Adam Rollins, Record Staff Writer
Organizers of the city of Warrenton’s annual Fall Festival believe this year was the biggest in the community event’s five-year history.“We had more vendors this year, we had more attendance this year. I would definitely say it’s the largest we’ve had so far,” said Brandie Walters, the city’s director of operations.She said organizers are broadly estimating that 6,000 people came for the vendors, kids activities, car show and live music at the festival this year. That would beat the city’s previous high attendance estimate.Before this year, organizers think the highest turnout was 5,500 people in 2016, when .38 Special performed as the festival’s featured evening concert. This year’s featured band was the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.It’s difficult to know for sure how many people came to the festival, Walters explained. People can come in and out from multiple directions for the all-day event. She said in previous years the city has used high-angle photos to get an estimate of the crowd size for the evening concert, but otherwise rely on observations throughout the day.The festival also outdid itself this year in terms of vendor offerings, Walters said. The city rented out 98 vendor spaces along Main Street this year. Although some vendors take up multiple spots, this year’s participation far outpaced last year’s rental of 73 spaces. Walters also observed that there seemed to be a wider variety of what vendors had to offer than in years past.Even the car show that is part of the annual Fall Festival had more entrants than in past years with 127 registrations, Walters said.The increased activity in the festival’s fifth year might be attributed to growing recognition in surrounding areas. Walters said the festival is advertised from Columbia to St. Louis, as well as the areas of Troy and Washington. More people from out of town are being drawn to the daylong festival, she said.CommentsWarrenton Alderman Gary Miller said several people who spoke to him said they were quite pleased with the festival this year.“They said it was very successful. There was a lot of vendors with a good selection,” Miller commented.Mayor Eric Schleuter added that during and even after the festival, people who came downtown were impressed by how tidy the area was kept throughout the festivities.“They were amazed that it looked like nothing ever happened that evening. You don’t see that in a lot of towns,” Schleuter said. “Our whole crew within the city ... really do put a lot of effort into the Fall Festival.”Much of the cleanliness throughout the event is thanks to Meridian Waste, which donated employee services and waste collection. The company said it provided 14 employees for almost 20 hours of service to keep the downtown area clean, along with more than 50 extra trash bins spread out along Main Street and two waste collection trucks.Two new activities this year were popular in the “Kids Corner,” Walters said. A mobile rock wall, in the shape of a tall pillar, had climbers scaling it all day long, she said. And magician Jeff Lefton had the attention of groups of children during two performances in the afternoon.
Children at the Warrenton Fall Festival show magician Jeff Lefton that he “accidentally” changed a red playing card to a black card. Lefton’s magic show was one of several entertainment offerings.