The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.
Warrensburg will have its biggest visitor influx this weekend when the CMSU Homecoming fills the streets with alumni and local citizens. Considering this, and the huge crowds I saw last Saturday at Warsaw's Heritage Days, it's time to put in another plug for using our heritage to create a major festival - I'm talking about Old Drum Days. The Greater Warrensburg Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center (GWACC&VC) used to sponsor a festival, but the last one was held in 1999 because it just wasn't doing well.
A successful event needs a hook. Warsaw has beautiful scenery, a wide range of living history presenters, and loads of crafts. Concordia has three parades and a beer garden complete with oom-pah band. If we're going to get people to come to Warrensburg in packs, we need a hook, as well. The story of Old Drum is a great hook, but lots of other places have a canine heritage. We need some creativity to set that hook.
In past years I've offered some ideas to make a local festival a real destination. I suggested making everything 'doggy' - from music to food to carnival prizes to floppy ears on the beauty queens' crowns. In addition to a 'putting on the dog' fashion promenade with poodle skirts and Senator Vest impersonators, doggie song karaoke contests, Lassie-calling, 'wiener relays' and a doggerel contest, I suggesteded activities for the real dogs such as a standard dog show, a poker-playing dog costume show, working dog demonstrations, etc. Other ideas included a dog biscuit bake-off, a dog howling contest, chihuahua races, a contest to see who can make the highest stack of dog biscuits or a dog art show (art about dogs or by dogs, or maybe both)? You get the idea.
Now, planning and running an event takes time and money. It just so happens that the GWACC&VC is receiving about $60,000 a year in room tax money from the City, to be used to promote tourism. Surely, creating an event to promote Warrensburg as a destination is a fit use.
There are so many things we can do - my previous suggestions are posted at Gadfly 101 and Gadfly 151. Let the billboards read 'Warrensburg - Gone to the Dogs' - we'll draw crowds and have a great time!
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